Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On Lemonade Stands

The concept of lemonade stands fascinates me.  Every time I pass one, I notice the children, who often have been sitting for hours, sometimes day after day, waiting for a car to stop.  When they spot a potential customer, the children jump and shout, begging for a sale.  And every child thinks his lemonade stand will make him rich.

Fast forward to adulthood, where real business is involved.  The opportunity for success is so much greater.  The market is infinitely larger.  Customers can (and should) be sought out, rather than waiting for them to appear.  They don't need to drive down a certain street.  They don't even need to be in the same town, state, or nation.  Advertising is no longer limited to a homemade poster or drawings on a chalkboard.  And goods available for sale move far beyond the current supply in the kitchen pantry.

Yet few adults think their position will be the one that makes a difference.  They don't think it will make them rich.  They become indifferent to the number of sales taking place.  They take little, if any, advantage of the resources available to them.  They don't strive for something better.  They accept their toil in complete complacency (or, in some cases, quit altogether) and abandon their potential.  What causes such a distinct disconnect between childhood and adulthood?  What causes such a sharp separation in the drive of an individual, in their motivation and persistence?  Why are dreams so quickly abandoned in adulthood without putting forth any effort?  The greatness a child can see in a 25 cent paper cup of lemonade an adult fails to see in a multi-national corporation generating billions of dollars in revenue.

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