In 1954, as a 52-year-old milk-shake-machine vendor was visiting one of his restaurant customers in San Bernardino, Calif., he witnessed a unique food assembly line system that two brothers had developed. Immediately recognizing the potential of their idea, he offered to pay them a percentage of their gross receipts. The brothers agreed, and now the brothers, Maurice and Richard McDonald, and the milk-shake-machine salesman, Ray Kroc, have permanent places in U.S. history.
The lesson? Sometimes all it takes is a simple idea to make the difference between minor and historic success.
I recognize that thinking outside of our walls can be difficult. In today’s fast-paced environment, the one thing that most people lack is time. We’re always rushed to make decisions, and the
urgency of accomplishing the immediate naturally rises to the top of our priority list.
What we don’t realize is that this mentality encourages us to act like gerbils on a wheel, spinning in circles but not really going anywhere. Therefore, it is important to be able to take ourselves outside of the picture at times to look at things objectively. When we train ourselves to be more open-minded, we open doors to Kroc’s level of success.
I’ve found from experience that continuous learning helps maintain an open mindset. We need to remind ourselves to invest time in learning, no matter our age. For example, history has a marvelous habit of repeating itself. By reading about history, we gain various perspectives on how people respond to certain situations, and we can learn from their successes and mistakes.
I, for one, read the Bible. It helps me broaden my perspective on life, and it provides a personal resource for me in finding new, yet ancient, ways of viewing and responding to situations.
There are other resources that can aid us in tearing down our walls. For example, vendors are dealing with other businesses like yours on a daily basis, and those vendors represent a great resource. They see and hear all of the latest innovations taking place in our industries, so take the time to talk to them about these things.
When you take the time to listen, others will teach you things and expose you to new perspectives.
And it’s an easy way to start climbing out of our box.