“I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me. ”
—Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) from the movie The Departed
Many of you know about my two years in Southern Mexico as a missionary. In one area I served I cam across two families that stand out in my mind as stark contrasts.
The first I met in a cab ride from the bus station to the apartment in my first hour in this area. He drove the cab and I later found out that he was a science teacher for one of the local prep schools. His wife was due to have their second baby in a couple of months. He worked hard and was just starting out as a husband and father. He did not have to drive cab, but he did want to improve his situation.
The other family I met was completely opposite. His wife worked hard selling in the market to earn enough to buy the necessities of life. I once approached their house to see him laying in a hammock with a “caguama” (a beer of about 32 oz). All he could say was, “No hay trabajo” – there is no work.
One system created opportunity (the first eventually bought a home and became a community leader) the other created stagnation. We can shake our head at the second, but his “system” was to have his wife work while he drank in the shade bemoaning the economy. Guess who made a bigger impact in the world?
The economy, taxes, politicians, the system, big business, and the boogie man. The next time you want to blame some out-side source, figure out what is happening with your own systems that did not prepare for the influence of these outside influences.
Are you positioned to take advantage of circumstances whether they are good or bad? The difference is the systems you have in place and the quality of execution.