Dale Cardwell: Slumdogs, millionaires and ponies

Did you see "Slumdog Millionaire"? It's the story of a boy from India who was born in a literal garbage dump - and through a twist of fate - ended up a millionaire. It's one of my all-time favorite movies, not because of the Hollywood (or Bollywood) ending, but because all along the way, the boy was completely oblivious that the odds of success were stacked against him.

His story is the embodiment of the kid who was placed in a barn full of manure - and with a smile on his face, immediately started digging. When asked why he was so happy, he declared, "With all this manure, there has to be a pony in here somewhere!"

I see that can-do kid everywhere I go. Last week, I grabbed a bite at a deli in Gwinnett County. The counter was operated by a lady who spoke broken English, but that didn't stop her from getting my order right and delivering excellent customer service.

Her son, who also worked at the deli, recognized me from TV, and we struck up a conversation. He explained that his parents had emigrated from Vietnam not that long ago, worked their tails off, and had started their own business. You see, they knew that in America, "There has to be a pony in here somewhere!"

I recently watched an interview with Gene Simmons of the rock group KISS. Think what you want of KISS, but its creator, Simmons, is a marketing genus. He told the story of being very poor, and emigrating with his mother from Israel at the age of 8. He says he would never forget the day he first walked in to an American grocery store.

"There were mountains of food everywhere!" Little Gene (real name Chaim Weitz) would never be the same. You see, he recognized that in America, "There has to be a pony in here somewhere!"

Contrast that with another group. A few years ago, I was invited to join a group of men who'd lost their jobs in the recession. (This was shortly after I'd made my unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate, and I was in the process of creating what is now www.TrustDale.com). The stated purpose of the group was to create a forum where ideas could be exchanged and businesses could be created.

After a few days, I found the group's true purpose was to commiserate about how unfairly they'd been treated by their former employers, and how the deck was stacked against the success of any plan they might come up with for a business. The atmosphere was so saturated with defeat that I left after a couple of visits and have never returned to that lunch spot since.

New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote an excellent column last week about success. He explained that Americans are so obsessed with competition - or becoming No. 1 in a crowded field, that we completely overlook what America is all about; creating your own field of success where there is no competition!

How do you do that? Ask Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. He could have finished at Harvard and entered the incredibly competitive world of computer programming. Instead, Zuckerberg invented a computer-based social network no one had thought possible just months earlier.

Here's my point: If you live in the United States of America, it's like starting life with a bank balance of $1 million. This is truly the land of opportunity. Stuck in a dead-end job? Unemployed? Start digging and don't quit. You see, I'm convinced you'll find that "There has to be a pony in here somewhere!"

For great consumer advice and companies you can trust, visit www.TrustDale.com, watch Dale on TrustDale TV weekends on Fox 5, and listen to TrustDale Radio Saturday afternoons on News Talk WSB.

comments powered by Disqus