Missing The Obvious

Foxy was a 19-pound fox terrier, who lived with us for over 17 years. After Foxy went to that great dog walk in heaven, I swore we would never have another dog. My wife Terri however, really wanted a pup, so we compromised and got another dog.

Although Foxy was a good dog, he was a male terrier and typical of the breed he could be – as Terri would say – feisty. Meaning if you did something he didn’t like, you could lose your nose. So, my goal for our new family member was to find a female, runt of the litter fox terrier. After a month of searching, I located an Ohio breeder who had just the pup I had been searching for. She had just been born, so I made arrangements to pick her up when she was three-months old and Terri and the breeder began an email correspondence. It was only a couple of weeks before we were to take the new puppy home that we discovered she was a “toy” rather than a standard fox terrier.

I have had many dogs but never one that full-grown would weigh less than six pounds. Small dogs are different, they are on your lap, or sitting next to you rather than sleeping on the floor; so, you get to know them better. Annie, our dog, is no exception, and as we have gotten better acquainted, I realize just how oblivious dogs are to things we take for granted. For example, to Annie our oven door is just a black place on the wall: she can’t comprehend what it is and what she is really seeing.

I wonder if this isn’t also true for humans. Are there everyday things that we don’t have the intelligence to fully comprehend? Is it possible that we cannot understand the true utility of much or our everyday world? That clouds, rocks, trees and sand dunes may have a use that only the power greater than us can understand? I don’t know. I do realize that as individuals we often miss the obvious.

The first time I built a house was nearly 30 years ago. I had a customer who had a building lot he needed to get rid of and a framing crew that he had no work for. So, I purchased the lot, bought a set of building plans and put the framing crew to work. Being in the construction business allowed me to purchase most of the building materials at cost, and with good credit, financing was not a problem.

When I thought about it later, I realized that I had access to low-cost building products, good credit and a framing crew; what an opportunity to go into the home-building business. I don’t know if I would have been successful, the point is I never recognized the opportunity.

My experience is typical of many people; they don’t see opportunity when it smacks them between the eyes. This lack of recognition can be attributed to a variety of reasons; one of which is tunnel vision. They get so wrapped up in what they are doing; so adsorbed with every day happenings that they never take the time to step away, stop and look for opportunities.

In a tough economy the preceding is easy to say but tough to execute when you are forced to do more with less. However, tough economic times often present the right set of circumstances for future prosperity. Remember, many of the great Florida fortunes were made during the Great Depression. So, take time away from your everyday tasks; spend time with colleagues; read, analyze, relax. By doing so, perhaps you will find opportunities you might have missed.


If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle

Opportunities? They are all around us…There is power lying latent everywhere waiting for the observant eye to discover it.” – Orison Swett Marden


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