Things are bad all over… one might be thinking right now…
The world is coming apart at the seams and facing insurmountable challenges, right? What’s the average person to do to cope?
I can only tell you what I’m doing. I’m trying to stay my course.
My husband Lief and I operate according to a simple mantra:
The world is alive with opportunity for fun and for profit.
I embraced this idea and began scouting the globe for opportunity some 30 years ago. About 18 years ago, I hooked up with Lief, and the two of us have carried on together since. When times seem tough, as they do right now, it helps us to take a step back and remind ourselves what we’re doing. Maybe it’ll help you, too.
What we’re doing is trying hard to recognize what’s good in the world and, when possible, to do what we can to make it better.
And there’s a lot that’s good… even with everything else that’s going on.
At a grass-roots level, one group we know in Nicaragua is sponsoring scholarship programs for homeless kids in that country and another is raising funds to build a clinic in a part of the country that has no medical facilities. This second group presented at our recent conference in Nicaragua, and they and we were delighted when attendees at the event pooled together to donate nearly US$20,000, almost one-fifth of the total amount needed to complete the project.
Friends and colleagues throughout the region are starting businesses that are creating employment opportunities that are reinventing whole communities. A colleague here in Panama launched an agricultural operation about a year-and-a-half ago that has developed already to employ 300 people in a region where, otherwise, jobs are scarce.
Not to toot our own horn, but this is part of what we’re doing with the oceanfront community we’re developing on Panama’s Pacific coast. Our two-dozen employees out in Veraguas are earning more money today than ever before in their lifetimes. We take some pride in that.
And we’re trying to be more than employers. We’re trying to be good neighbors, too. There are two schools nearby our property. They’re basic and underfunded. Kids walk up to two hours and more each way to show up to learn, though. We try to support and encourage their effort by donating computers, relevant educational software, and books. We sent out a bunch of books a couple of weeks ago, and Thursday a friend in the area sent us photos of the kids holding the books and a thank-you poster they’d made.
How much difference does any of that make in the scheme of things? Who knows. I know it made me smile during a week when smiling hasn’t come easy.
Thinking bigger, the truth is, things aren’t bad all over. It only feels that way right now. We all have reason to be optimistic, not only about our personal futures, but about the world in general, too. Places that once were struggling in dramatic and seemingly overwhelming ways at the time today are thriving. Colombia is my favorite example.
Have you seen the Netflix series “Narcos”? It tells the story of Pablo Escobar’s rise in Medellín, sometimes including actual video footage from the time. In one episode, one such real-life video clip shows Escobar’s guerrillas driving tanks up the front steps of the Palace of Justice in Bogotá. The goons held the country’s Supreme Court hostage. Before the tragedy concluded, almost half of Colombia’s 25 Supreme Court Justices were dead.
I mentioned that I was watching this series to a friend from Medellín who visited us in Panama City recently and described the scene on the Palace of Justice steps.
“That really happened?” I asked him.
“Yes, that really happened,” Juan Darío responded. “It was a very bad time in my country’s history. A very sad time.
“But that is our past,” he continued with a small smile. “That is our past.”
Colombia today is prosperous and peaceful, a place that falls squarely on our radar as we continue on the trail of opportunity for fun and for profit.
And Colombia isn’t alone on our radar screen. We like Belize for a back-to-basics, off-grid, and removed-from-the-world’s-woes reinvention. We like Panama if your agenda is entrepreneurial. We like the Dominican Republic if your agenda is kicking it in the Caribbean while earning cash flow to support your beach-comber lifestyle. We like Paraguay for ranching, Uruguay for farming, Argentina for vineyards, Nicaragua for a Pacific coast escape on the cheap. We like Vietnam for exotic adventure and Portugal for the best of the Old World on a budget…
If you could go anywhere, do anything, and live any lifestyle, what would you do right now, today, to launch yourself down the path to realizing that dream?
Start there. And start now.