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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

One Man’s Opinion

Having grown up showing cattle through 4-H, I have fond memories of county and state fairs.  Livestock shows were truly a way of life for our family. My classmates could never understand why we were so passionate about cattle. They did not understand how much time, energy and effort it took to bring that animal into the show ring. What I did not fully understand at the time was that showing livestock taught me very valuable life lessons, ranging from responsibility and character-building to time management, budgeting, and patience.

My family was fortunate in that we earned our share of grand or reserve champion titles with our cattle and showmanship skills. But, looking back, while I remember the winning moments, my clearest memories are of the times we didn’t win. I can remember walking back to the stalls after finishing 2nd with the sharpest lump in my throat and my Dad saying these words that fixed in my head “it’s only ONE MAN’S OPINION”.  Those words eased the sting of 2nd place that day. He was right, and for me knowing it was only one person’s opinion allowed me to let the pain go and pick myself up, stay positive, and keep moving forward.

That lesson back in the cattle stalls has helped me many times in my life. When selling, I often heard “NO”. When developing business plans I heard “NO” (a lot).  My Dad’s words kept me moving forward “It’s only one man’s opinion.” Writing this got me thinking of the value of one person’s opinion. Look at these opinions I found:

“Computers in the future will weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” (Popular Mechanics, 1949.)

“I think there’s a world market for maybe five computers.” (Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.)

“I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” (Editor of Prentice Hall, 1957.)

“But what is it good for?” (Engineer at IBM, commenting on the micro chip, 1968)

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” (Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899.)

Fred Smith, the founder of the multi-billion-dollar FedEx carrier corporation, originally proposed the FedEx concept in a college examination paper – for which we was awarded a C- grade.

And finally there is my favorite, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” From Jim Denny of the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, firing Elvis Presley after his first performance.

As we move forward and build Tama County’s economy we are going to hear the word “NO” most likely more than a few times. We must remember the lesson learned in the show ring is only one person’s opinion and pick ourselves up, stay positive, and keep moving forward.



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