Saturday, December 22, 2012

CHARACTER AND INTELLIGENCE



In today’s world, using the words character and intelligence in the same sentenced to describe someone is rare.  I’ve used those descriptions sparingly over the years.  My father was the incarnation of both descriptions. Twice he was invited to join MENSA and turned them down. He’d opted for a career in government service and suspected that his membership in that high IQ group might be detrimental to his position.  
My long time friends, Richard Rollins, Dobe Harding, Rick Dailey, and Ray Samek are also personifications. Dobe is no longer with us and the rest of us are getting up there in years.  However, I know my friends still maintain their intelligence and character.
I recently started a business here in Panama.  In order to launch the venture by the first part of January, 2013, I needed to recruit salespeople and instructors for my fluid memorization course.  I invited almost forty people to attend my recruiting meeting; six people showed up.  Three of them are interested in being instructors, three want the sales opportunity.  I’m pleased for their attendance but disappointed in the others that promised to attend.  That is a Central American cultural trait.  From the Mexican border to the Darien jungle of Panama, the same bad manners and vile character traits prevail.  Hardly anyone keeps an appointment. It’s always amazed me that anything gets done.  Then it dawned on me! Duhh!! In third world countries, ninety percent of accomplishments are performed by ten percent of the populations. If you look closely at this ten percent, they were usually educated or worked in North America or Europe; learning the traits of success from first world countries. The remaining 90% teeter on the cusp of poverty and blame the other 10%.
I’ve always had the attitude that if you miss an appointment with me without calling ahead of time to release yourself from the obligation, it’s akin to writing me a bad check. I hold no truck with those that steal my time; 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 5th world.  It’s just f…king RUDE.  If my employees don’t have enough IQ to figure this out, they’re going to hear a single word from me – NEXT! (I’ll eventually find those in the 10% and they will be rewarded accordingly.) No one gets a second chance to stand me up!

Monday, December 10, 2012

SUSTAINED ACQUAINTANCE



Through life’s twist and turns, we seldom find friendship.  Once that phenomenon happens, however, we usually try to sustain the relationship as long as possible.  Those twists and turns usually negate close relationships.  I have a few friends that date back to High School.  A few made a bit later in life. Most of my friends are the result of a sustained acquaintance.
A few years ago, I met Miguel Delafeunte.  He had just arrived in Panama from Spain and was checking out the opportunities in ChiriquĂ­. He finally settled in Panama City.  Miguel and I have maintained that sustained acquaintance status for all those years. Do I consider him a friend?  Of course!  He just spent three days and two nights with me.  We share the love of business, our adopted country, Panama, and brainstorming new opportunities and ideas.
Miguel is a product of Europe’s educational system and looks at the world much differently than my friends from North America. We agree on most everything except food.  He’s a vegetarian.  When I discovered this, I pointed to the back yard, handed him an orange and told him to “graze” if he got hungry. (he likes my homemade bread, tho.)
Miguel and I agree that the future for Panama is extremely bright. We’re attacking the opportunities from different angles and bases of operation but the results will turn out the same; prosperity and a good life for us and our associates.