“The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.”
— Dennis Gabor
Randomness and circumstance combine to create the daily environment in which we must live, and hopefully thrive. But to believe that these alone determine our destiny is to incorrectly account for our own decisions and actions. Our future is as much about what we do with the hand we are dealt as the hand itself. It is up to each of us to be the best that we can be – to do the most that we can do. Poor circumstances can make this harder, and at any given instant guarantee that our best will be unacceptable, and the most we can do be insufficient. But if we consistently address both the good times and the bad with courage, determination, and thoughtful creativity, we can always impact the outcome of our lives and our decisions. We can always, to some degree, invent our own futures.
“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
— Reid Hoffman
This quote relates directly to an article I wrote entitled “When Truisms Collide”. In that article, I discussed how two conflicting quotes, generally considered as truisms, could be in direct conflict and yet both be true. The answer to this inconsistency is relatively simple – which truism is correct depends entirely on the circumstances and environment of any given situation. Mr Hoffman is entirely accurate in his assessment if there is huge pressure to get to market and grab market share before a competitor beats you to it. This would be particularly true in the case of new technology-driven products, where obtaining a foothold is the highest priority.
For a homebuilder, particularly one with an excellent reputation, I would argue that it is equally important that while our new product need not be perfect, it should not be embarrassing. The cost of reputational damage must always be weighed against the advantages of being first to market. History is filled with unsuccessful product pioneers, whose market share was stolen by the second round of better designed, better performing, and better priced alternatives.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”.
— Dr. Suess
Many great quotes are similar in that they are variations on a core theme. The fundamental message contained here is “Be Positive”. “Every cloud has a silver lining” and ”Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism leads to strength” are just 2 other examples of this pro-positive theme. Yet here, Dr. Suess has expanded the base message of positive versus negative to one of appreciation versus lament, with the added message that everyone get’s to decide the outcome of this contest through their individual perspective. To quote another quote, we each get to determine if, in our mind, the glass is half full or half empty. The amount of water in the glass doesn’t change- how we chose to see it is what changes.
“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way”
— Napolean Hill
Most of us dream, at some time, of doing great things. Yet true satisfaction and long term success come from hard work, commitment, and attention to detail. Big things consist of myriad small things, and getting these right is the foundation on which big ideas, big plans, and big business success are built. As builders, we should understand, better than most, the importance of a solid foundation, and strive to do the nagging, every day small things we must deal with in a great way. Only then, will you be capable of accomplishing great things
Alan Trellis, Author, NAHB Speaker, and co-founder of Home Builders Network.
With 40 years of experience as a custom home builder and consultant for the home building industry, Al is co-founder of Home Builders Network, which provides management consulting, marketing, residential design, and land planning for home builders throughout North America. Collectively, their clients build 3,000 homes per year, for a sales value of $1.2 billion. Al is the author of many books on residential construction; has served as chairman of the NAHB Custom Builder, Education, and Business Management committees; and is a leading speaker at the NAHB International Builders Show (IBS).