Monday, December 07, 2009

Shoes In Africa

I was talking with a friend of mine on Friday who lost his job a couple of months ago. He was telling me that there's really nothing out there for him in his area of expertise.

Most people who are in that situation mope around and complain. But my conversation with Pat was very encouraging for me because he was recounting all of the other opportunities that lay before him. None of them are really in the field he is experienced in, yet he is looking at this situation as very exciting, with a "I can't wait to see what you are going to do God!" attitude.

I shared with him that this reminded me of a story I heard about a shoe company who hired two salesmen to sell shoes for them in Africa. They trained them and sent them on their way with order forms in hand.

About a month later, one of the salesmen returned home with no orders written. He dejectedly told his manager, "There is no way to sell shoes in Africa. No one wears shoes over there!"

Another month went by and nobody from the company had heard from salesman #2. Then a package arrived from him. In the package was a stack of order forms and payments along with a message that said, "Please send more order forms ASAP! No one wears shoes here! The opportunities are endless!"

So what kind of attitude are you going to choose?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
Philippians 4:8


Chris Cree said...

I sometimes wonder which is more important, our area of expertise or our area of passion. Two years ago I quit my job in the maritime industry (a career path I'd been on for close to 20 years) to start a new media consulting company.

The only experience I had in that field was as a hobby.

You are so right, Jim. The opportunities before us are truly endless. We just have to be open and see them for what they are.

Jim Lange said...

Thank you Chris! Yes, I would take someone with less ability if they had passion. That is a necessary ingredient for greatness, I believe.

Thanks for checking in Chris!

mom2six said...

Life is so much about perspective and attitude. Is the glass half full or half empty? Even if it is half empty, one can still rejoice. Thanks for sharing - I always am encouraged.

Jim Lange said...

Thank you mom2six! You just encouraged me!

Philip Fong said...

Is the story real? African who don't need shoe suddenly want shoe and I thought they are poor, so how many can afford? How big is the scope of land to cover just to sell shoe?

I thought of selling refrigerator to African too, sure big business but no electricity, so have to sell generator first but the cost is too high for them also the supply of fuel too far away, will take them 30 years to reply just the generator, how much is the cheapest shoe the bought?

Jim Lange said...

Philip, thank you for checking in. No, I don't believe this story is true. It is simply to make a point that much of life is how we see it. Attitude is very important (see Philippians 4:8). Anyway, I'm glad this post got you thinking. By the way, check out my new Blog site at