Natural growth

From Money Magazine via the never eat alone blog:

“Grosnoff, 66, who is trim and calm and speaks in neat paragraphs, became a stockbroker near Philadelphia in 1969, not a good time in the stock market. He saw that potential big-money clients – mostly people who had recently sold businesses – were buying certificates of deposit, a sign that they wanted to play it safe.

But Grosnoff began selling a better-paying (and nearly as safe) alternative: short-term municipal debt that yielded 7.5 percent tax-free.

Like selling stocks, this entailed hours of cold calling, but the commissions were much lower than for stock sales.

‘One of the earliest transactions I did was a $5 million order. It took hours and only had a $250 commission, and I only got 28 percent of that,’ he said. ‘The other guys would tease me and ask me why I was spending so long on an order that paid me so little.’

But Grosnoff was hoping that when the market eventually picked up, his new clients would remember that he had served up safe tax-free notes when they needed them and would invest in stocks with him when they were ready to do that.

His gambit worked.

‘One day in 1974, a guy who owned a coal mine called me from his plane,’ Grosnoff recalled. ‘He said, ‘Bob, get out your pencil. I want to buy some stocks.’ He started with the As, then the Bs, and he just kept going.’

After that the guys in the office didn’t make fun of Grosnoff anymore.”

Stephen Covey talks about natural growth in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Basically, he noticed that a lot of his students at BYU expected to be able to study quickly the night before an exam and get all of benefits of weeks of preparation. It never worked.

He compared the work to life on a farm. With most things in life, there aren’t legitimate shortcuts. Some stuff will get you by, but you won’t succeed or excel without real work. (Which includes building those relationships that open up opportunities that feel like shortcuts) If you’re going to grow a quality crop, it takes months of work. Imagine throwing some seeds out one night and hoping for a full crop the next day. No tending. No watering. No preparation.

“Did you ever consider how ridiculous it would be to try to cram on a farm – to forget to plant in the spring, play all summer and them cram in the fall to bring the harvest? The farm is a natural system. The price must be paid and the process followed. You always reap what you sow; there is no shortcut.”

I know in my life it’s easy to want the quick fix. From exercising to relationships to understanding God’s word. Truth is, results come from consistent effort over time. Every time.

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