If you can’t control the wind, adjust the sails.
One of my favorite movie lines occurred in a scene from the 1985 western, “Silverado”, when Stella, the dwarf-sized saloonkeeper, revealed to her new partner, Paden, the platform she had built behind the bar that elevated her to eye level with her gangly cowboy patrons. When Paden looked down over the back side of the bar and saw her secret platform Stella explained it to him this way: “The world is what you make of it, my friend. If it doesn’t fit you make alterations.”
Many years ago due to a career move I had to relocate my family to another city. It was a difficult time, especially for our two children who were forced to leave their friends, school, and familiar home to face the challenges of making new friends and adjusting to a new school and home. One day as they were grumbling to their mother about all the changes I overheard her say this to them: “When life hands you a lemon, use it to make lemonade.” Those wise words, as it turned out, altered our whole family’s perspective.
In today’s world the wind shifts so quickly and so often we can scarcely keep up. Consider, for instance, how technology keeps advancing. Just a few years ago Blackberry was top dog in the “smartphone” market, one of the first to offer its users the ability to not only talk on the phone but also to send and receive emails and access the internet right in the palm of their hands. Today Apple has leapfrogged so far over Blackberry in cellphone technology that some speculate Research-in-Motion, the maker of the Blackberry may not even survive. But Apple – and others – best be on their toes, for the wind will shift again and who knows whose technology will cause the shift.
Wal-Mart has often been accused of causing the demise of many small main street businesses. True, when they entered a new market lots of local retailers were unable to compete with the huge discounter. But there were others who did survive and in fact prospered. How? They acknowledged they could not control the wind, but they could adjust their sails, and that’s what they did. “The world is what you make of it, my friend. If it doesn’t fit you make alterations.” How are the winds shifting in your world?