The Worst Thing I Ever Did With The Best Advice I Ever Received

worst200Attention, Attention! Listen up, don’t be an idiot like I was—listen to my advice. I know how many of you can talk about all the stupid things you’ve done in your lifetime, but can it be more stupid than missing out on millions of dollars? I have since moved on, but that one bit of information helped me to never pass on another good opportunity.

When I was in the Army, one of my duty stations was at FT. BLISS, TEXAS located in El Paso, from 1976 to 1978. At that time, the population of El Paso was over 360,000 and just as dry as it is today. I had no plans to live in El Paso because of its size and the lack of entertainment and other activities for children. Being from Chicago, I was used to a large population with a host of activities to keep anyone busy over the weekend. To say the least, staying in El Paso was not on my list of things to do after my enlistment was up.

While I was in El Paso, every Sunday I attended one of the local churches in the area. As a young man with much ambition, one gentleman took interest in me and would often talk to me about my future. Of course, being young and inexperienced in the things of life, I really had no plans other than to finish my tour of duty at FORT BLISS and never return I strongly disliked El Paso and I just couldn’t see myself living there. The gentleman in the church I attended was an affluent deacon and everyone but I was aware of it. At least it seemed that way.

Perhaps it was 1977, I was visiting the home of the well-to-do deacon and he again asked me of my plans after leaving the military. He said, while you are here in El Paso you can take advantage of the cheap price of land on the far Eastside and in 20-30 years from now your land will be worth a lot of money. I was adamant that I was not going to live in El Paso. He said even if you don’t, your net worth can be in the millions one day.

The unfortunate thing about what the deacon actually said to me was it was outside of my ability to see at the time. When he mentioned 20 to 30 years, I thought to myself that 30 years is a long time to wait on the price of the land to go up in value. Boy was I wrong. Thirty-seven years later, I am living in El Paso, Texas; in the place I said I was never coming back to except to visit. My decision to undermine the financial intelligence of the deacon was one of the worst decisions concerning my future I’ve ever made.

It didn’t, however, go totally bad for me because I remembered what the deacon said to me, and I never allowed another opportunity to pass me by. Nevertheless, even though I own land and houses in the city where I could have made millions just ten years ago; the same land the deacon suggested years ago was purchased for millions by developers.

The affluent deacon actually sold his land and made a lot of money and died at 92 years of age. I am forever grateful for his advice and mentoring during my early years of being an idiot. Even though I was an idiot, I did still hold on to what he said in the back of my mind and his advice became a catalyst to propel me to move beyond my comfort zone.

Whenever I have the opportunity to speak to the youth of our day, I often tell this story. Like many of the young men and women of yesterday, they cannot see beyond their comfort zone. However, it’s not just the youth, but many despondent adults who continue to ignore the knowledge of those who can help them. If you are reading this article, remember all of your dreams—businesses, houses, land and fulfillment lie beyond your comfort area.

See it, believe it, and go for it!

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