If you’ve ever watched The Honeymooners you know Ralph Kramden. He’s a husband and a bus driver. And he’s a man that wants a better life. Things are always tight for him and his wife Alice. But Ralph knows there is opportunity out there for him. He just has to find the right angle. Trouble is, Ralph thinks that every opportunity that comes down the road is a quick cash deal. When Ralph cooks up a scheme, he doesn’t plan further than the “If I do this, then that will happen.” And his ego doesn’t give him a doubt that it will not work. No long range planning. No assessing what he does well and what he doesn’t. Ralph thinks he is good at everything, but he doesn’t know what he’s really good at. It’s another quality that keeps him from figuring out how to get on the clear path of success.
But there was one episode where Ralph actually had a great plan. He bought a whole bunch of All Purpose kitchen utensils. He also made a deal with a local TV station to get some commercial time. And his friend Ed Norton was ready to help him. Everything was set except for one thing – Ralph had stage fright. He couldn’t say one line that he and Ed wrote for their selling pitch. Now in his defense, Ralph hadn’t been in front of a camera before. How would he have even known he had stage fright? But then again, Ralph’s ego got in his way. He spent all of his practice time telling Norton how to make the commercial better, but he didn’t have any more experience than Norton. Ralph should have gone to the station manager and been like “Listen, my partner and I have never been in front of a camera before, what’s it like?” At least that could have prepared him more for the experience. But The Honeymooners was all about comedy, so a consciencous and humbled Ralph would not have been nearly as funny as a nervous and bumbling Ralph on a TV stage. And as always in the show, Norton was as cool as a cucumber on TV.
I give this example to speak to all the Ralph Kramdens out there. This isn’t to judge, but to enlighten. Please stop with the get rich quick schemes and the get money now cons and the “I want to do that because it makes the most money.” If you want to make money or have that entrepreneurial spirit, it’s going to take more than thinking of a quick idea or answering an Ad online about doing something for ‘Extra Money at home”. I mean, you can do what you want, but if you listen to successful people you will probably find out that it took them a minute to figure out how to become a success.
Stop going for the thing that the world says is the best or top money making direction and go for the field or career or business that embraces the thing that you do well. If you want to do something like stuff Envelopes at home then ask yourself if you want to do it full time? Because even if you do it part time just to make a little money on the side you will either love it or hate it after a while. Why would you want to do something that you will hate after a while? You might as well get a part time job that you will hate instead.
People don’t do enough critical thinking. They keep trying to do these get Money Now schemes because they don’t ask the question “How does the company make money? Why can’t they mail the envelopes themselves? Why do I have to pay a fee to do a job?” I’m always grateful for my dad and how he taught me critical thinking to see through these ‘Too good to be true” business ideas. Anybody in your life that talks wisdom should be making you stop and listen.
Stop saying to yourself or other people that “I need money now.” Were you saying that a few years ago? What happened? If you are still saying that then you really didn’t “need money now”, you needed a plan. If you had a plan and stuck to it years ago, where would you be now? Success isn’t promised, but if you tried to develop something in a slow and steady way, then how much better would your situation be now? But if you spent the last few years trying to sell this or mail that for another company over and over again, then that type of business model probably isn’t for you. Don’t get me wrong; there are successful people that sell or work from home or door to door. But it’s not for everybody. Many people just don’t think of other things to do or plan out.
To avoid being a Ralph, the first thing is to find out what you are really good at. And it doesn’t hurt to be truthful about what you are really bad at. For some, admitting they are bad at something is too hard. But I suggest you try it. Find your skills and natural talents. Find out what how you are unique and how people may want to pay for that uniqueness. Research how other people that have your talents have made a career for themselves. Or if those talents don’t exactly translate to a career, how you can use them for the jobs that you have now or want.
If you can’t really put your finger on what talents you have then ask people you know what they think your talents are. What do people keep asking you about? What do you love helping people with? What do you love talking to people about? Ask your friends what you are really good at and what they value you for. Also, try everything you can try. How are you going to know if you like to do something if you have never done it before? Or if you don’t like to do something. Try to look back to your childhood and think of the things that you loved to do. What got you excited as a kid? What were you good at back then?
The second thing is where the Kramdens of the world trip up. Practice your talent. Plan on practicing for a minute to get better at what you do. The reason that some people keep trying to do these get money now schemes is that they don’t want to humble themselves and be patient. Especially the brothers. Hey, I’m just being truthful here. Some dudes always want to talk about how good they are at something, but don’t really practice or research it.
Finally, make a plan. But just don’t come up with an idea and think that’s it. Find out if other people are doing what you want to do. Maybe you can come up with an original idea, but find out if it is something that people want. Indecently, don’t think for sure that your idea has never been thought of before. That’s that Ralph Kramden ego kicking in again. Sometimes the idea that you have is unique because people have tried it in the past and it didn’t work out so well. So yes, you won’t find it out there because there wasn’t an audience for it. But don’t let that discourage you. The missing piece for most people with ideas is that they have to do the proper research. And that doesn’t mean reading the first page of a Google search.
There are a ton of books and videos that talk about finding talents and passions, and finding your success through them. Some of them are legit and some just snake oil. All I’m saying here is that I talk with a lot of brothers and I just hear that Ralph Kramden spirit coming through. Don’t be Ralph. Be patent and think things through and stay focused on a goal. It might work out or it might not, but most of the time it’s better that going after the quick money. What I sometimes call The Shiny. Also, don’t threaten your wife with a “Bang, Zoom.” Peace out!