For nearly 30 years, Jim has maintained a newsletter correspondence with his loyal clients.
For all of the youngsters reading this, newsletters are like blog posts--just better.
Read on for some of Jim's "greatest hits" and musings on business and life.
Dancing With Bulls (April 2010)
More than 30 years ago, a friend and I had the lifetime experience of backpacking through Europe. At that time, we had no idea how many adventures we’d have that would help shape our lives today. There was one day in particular that I will never forget and a lesson I will always refer to.
The year was 1972. Back then, it was advertised that you could travel Europe on $5 a day. Today, that will only get you a foot-long sub. We were visiting a small village at the base of the Swiss Alps name Grindelwald. Like so many of these tiny towns, it seemed as if it were created in a fairy tale - almost too perfect to imagine. The mountains were right out of the “Sound of Music...if I could only sing. My friend, John, and I felt this was the perfect place to follow a trail up the mountain to see the beauty firsthand. And so we went. The air was so crisp and the view unlike anything I had ever seen. We realized as we made our hike that we had not run into anyone else the entire day. But the higher we went, the more beautiful the view became. Finally as afternoon was passing, we decided we better return back down the hill. My friend had spotted a signpost in an empty field and we headed over to confirm our directions. We were perplexed, as it appeared that the way we were taking was the wrong way. As we debated, we suddenly heard the clanging of bells in the distance. We knew we were too high to be near a church, but the sound of bells was growing louder and closer. And then we saw a sight I will never forget: six bulls in full gallop heading directly towards us. With no time to think, John hoisted himself up atop the sign post as it seemed like a safe idea. I turned and sprinted towards the rocky hillside for safety. Two of the bulls followed me, but quickly realized they couldn’t reach me. Then all six bulls surrounded John atop the signpost, snorting with displeasure. John and I were still close enough to communicate with one another. He wanted me to run and divert the bulls away from him, but I was unconvinced of that plan. John knew that it would not take much for the bulls to knock over the sign and have him for dinner. Being young and somewhat oblivious to the gravity of the situation, we somehow found humor in it all. I actually took photographs of John surrounded by the bulls as if we were on “National Geographic.” After several harrowing moments, the bulls eventually lost interest and made their way across the field and down the mountain. John and I could not believe what had just occurred and scurried down the hill and breakneck speed. Once down, we had a great story to share and I had the photographs to prove it.
The lesson of the story is this: You never really know what adversity you may find yourself in. Things can be going along smoothly, when suddenly confusion may occur, followed by danger and possibly even harm. You never really know. But oftentimes, if you are not fearful and even laughing at the predicament, you may find that it is not as dire as you had feared - meaning attitude and behaviour are half the battle. Remember that as we muddle through this difficult financial time. And as my friend John and I celebrated our story with a beer and a smile, this too shall pass.