If I Were a Rich Man
"Igor and Slide. Please join me. Let me tell you a story I heard
a long time ago." Igor and Slide took a seat with the King in a Pub
at the end of a long hard day of work. Ale was served; first to the
King, and then to Slide and Igor.
"I love a good story," said Slide.
"Before I begin, I have always wanted to ask you this question
for a long time. Igor, your company's name is Moat Designs Ltd.,
but you're a contractor. You sound like a design firm. And Slide,
your company's name is Building Blocks Inc. You sound like a
builder. Why is that?"
"That's a very astute observation," said Slide. "This column is
a parody, and the author is making the statement that contractors
try and move into the design arena so they can attract more
business, while architects fancy themselves as builders, and hence,
we have design-build. He's playing with words to get people to
think about their business name."
"Really?" said the King. "That's fascinating. Should be in a
book. Anyway, here's the story I was going to tell you. There were
two individuals, much like yourselves. One was a millionaire, and
the second one was broke. The broke one was given a million
shillings so that they were both millionaires." Slide and Igor
looked at each other.
"Time went by and the economy changed. Both the millionaire and
the formerly broke person who was given a million dollars went
broke. They were then asked what they thought of the fact they were
"That's a lot of shillings to lose," said Igor.
"Yes, you're right. The millionaire said, 'I will be poor and
broke until I'm once again a millionaire,' while the poor person
who had been given the million shillings, and lost it said, 'I'm
poor once again.'"
"That's interesting," said Slide. "The millionaire responded as
if he was temporarily out of funds. While the other one's attitude
was, I'm rich until I run out of money, and then I'll be poor
"Yes, you're right. So, what have you learned?"
"I don't know, but I'll tell you I've been thinking about what
it would be like to have a million shillings for a long time."
"The key word is you were thinking of what it would be like to
have a million shillings. You didn't picture yourself as a
millionaire. You thought of yourself as you are now. What about
"I think it's a bunch of baloney!"
"OK. Figures. Let's try another way to think about this.
Sometimes you have good days, and sometimes you have bad days,
"Yes," they both responded.
"Well, there are always problems, particularly in construction.
Something is always going wrong. But my point is, you don't have to
let that change how you respond to these problems. Even with bad
things happening, you can still have a good day. You can have a
positive attitude, and it will help you work out the problem."
"I'm having a hard time with this one," said Igor
. "Why is that?" asked the King.
"Because, if it's a bad day, I want everyone to know about
"So, you get pleasure by letting everyone know you're having a
"You need help!" said the King.
Slide raised his hand as if he was in class. "Your Majesty, if I
may, perhaps I can help our friend Igor out."
"Very well Slide. You know Igor better than anyone."
"Very well. In business, where you're dealing with other
employees and business associates, it's very much in your best
interest to let them know how you're feeling, but it's how you go
about it that's important. In fact, just because there's a problem,
it doesn't mean you should make everyone uncomfortable about it.
It's much better to be positive, and like the millionaire who is
temporarily out of funds, your problems will eventually go away.
You'll have also demonstrated your professionalism."
"I think I understand," said Igor.
"Very good. In fact, both of you have always helped with
whatever needed to be done at the Castle. It has pleased me, and
now, I would like to present to each of you with a gift of a
million shillings. You're now both millionaires."
Both Igor and Slide were so happy they were jumping up and down.
Igor was the first one to speak. "How can we thank you?" he said
out of breath.
"I was just kidding! Perhaps you can behave as if you're both
millionaires and that you're both temporarily out of funds."
With the exception of an occasional guest appearance by the
author, any similarity to actual events or people living or dead is
Ronald A. McKenzie is president of COMPASS
Consultants Corp., a strategic planning and marketing company
specializing in developing business growth. He is a published
author and has made nationwide presentations on the subject of
strategic planning and marketing. He resides in Las Vegas and can
be reached at email@example.com and