My dad, now 90, told this story to me many times. It illustrates how our greatest challenges or problems in life can become our best opportunities for unthinkable success. What looks like an obstacle may be the natural step toward greatness…
One day the owner of a building tells his caretaker that he must go out of town for a day, but that he expects a most important letter. He informs the caretaker that he must make sure he gets the registered letter himself because it is very important.
The owner leaves the next morning. That afternoon the letter is delivered, but requires a signature. The caretaker tells the postman that he doesn’t know how to write.The postman explains that he must obtain an actual signature, no marks or X’s. Since the caretaker can’t write, the postman refuses to leave the letter.
When the owner returns and learns what happened, he becomes furious and fires the caretaker on the spot. The caretaker finds himself without a job and without an income. To support his meager existence, he starts peddling whatever goods and services he can to survive.
His business begins to grow and improves to the point that he is able to open a little store. By the time his sons are old enough to help him, he has become well established. The sons inherit the business when the caretaker retires and decide to build a larger store. They ask their father to help them borrow the money to finance their ambitious undertaking.
The father asks the banker for the loan and the banker says, “No problem. You can have whatever you need. Just sign on the dotted line.” The caretaker looks at the banker and replies, “I can’t sign. I never learned how to write.”In astonishment, the banker asks, “How is it possible that a man who can’t write could amass the wealth that you have?” “Ah,” says the caretaker, “If I could write, I’d still be a caretaker.”
This story has been around the block and was passed to me from my father, now almost 90. This is his version and is included in his foreword of my book Pathfinding: Seven Principles for Positive Living. In my work as a radio talk show host of “Positive Living” I interview so many people who have found success and are helping countless others because of having to overcome and find solutions to the same challenges they address in their books and programs.