“Strike while the iron is hot. Once the iron cools, you will no longer be able to shape it.”
My dad once told me a joke that I was reminded of this expression:
A Venezuelan (my dad is Venezuelan) had heard great tales about the USA and of how opportunity and fortune were boundless. So much so, that money was literally on the streets waiting to be picked up. This chamo (slang term for dude) was skeptical, but he had heard too many stories not to be curious.
He saved up as much as he could, applied for a visa, and after a few years was granted a visa and had the funds to go. He finally was getting his chance to see America for himself! He touched down in Miami, Florida, and sure enough, as soon as he stepped out of the airport he saw a $20 bill just laying there on the floor.
The stories were true! The chamo was tired though, and he said to himself, “My back is sore and I’m tired. I will start picking up money tomorrow.”
Okay, I’m a bit long winded on a joke with such a short punchline, lol, but I think this joke illustrates my point perfectly. While this example seems so silly, we all do this to ourselves time and time again.
I know of a few opportunities I let slip by that would have been HUGE if I had jumped on it full bore when it first presented itself. I’m sure you can think of a few times you have done this yourself.
While this is easy to say and understand, the real question is WHY do we allow ourselves to take a rain-check on a opportunity that is proven to create rewards?
While there might be a few reasons you might procrastinate, I think the one one that most people falter on is:
Taking the opportunity for granted and being lazy.
When you finally realize an opportunity, whether by dumb luck or sheer will and perseverance, there is a feeling of victory. You made it!
As many of you might know, victory often makes us lazy. Especially when you are not used to winning. You can become complacent and think that you have turned a corner and now everything you touch will become gold.
This of course is not true. Every opportunity has a shelf life.
For example, suppose you were the only person in time that specialized in Thai Massage. Then the local news puts out a piece that says Thai Massage has been proven to increase your life span by 30 years guaranteed. You can imagine the type of influx of business you would get right away as everyone wants to get that extra life. 🙂
Suppose that your normal hours were very modest, just a 4 hour shift, as before this boom you had few clients. You had another job that was paying your bills. Striking while the iron is hot means you double or triple down on that opportunity that is proving true.
In this case with the Thai Massage business, you should drop what you are doing and pull 12 hour shifts, even 16 hour shifts to meet the influx of demand. You might even hire a few staff members and teach them your trade so you can scale your business and take more clients.
There is no knowing when the well will dry up so to speak, and if you are making good money, don’t be naive and think it will last forever. You would be like the chamo in my dad’s joke leaving $20 bills on the floor to pick up for later. 🙂
In this same example, what would likely happen is that people would start taking notice and start learning how to do Thai Massage too. So if you didn’t establish a good foothold early on, you could be out done and left in your competitor’s dust.
Or perhaps a new study shows that Thai Massage doesn’t extend life, and people drop out entirely.
The point is you don’t know what can happen in the future, but you do know what is happening now. While I have been talking about financial examples, this principle is true in all areas of life.
In the martial arts, if you are young, healthy, and able to train and learn rapidly – don’t take it for granted. Get those training sessions under your belt while you can. You never know when you might have an accident *cough ACL reconstruction, cough* and be sidelined indefinitely.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?
Comment with your take on this. And if you like this article, please do me a solid and share it with your friends. Thanks!