I remember when I was a kid; I belonged to an explorer scout troop. It was similar to boy scouts, but all we did was go camping, and other outdoor activities. There were no merit badges or helping old ladies across the street.
Every summer we would go on these weeklong backpacking trips through the Sierra Mountain range in California. If you’ve never been to or seen the Sierra’s, they are a fantastic, almost untapped natural resource. Because it is incredibly hard and strenuous to get in, once you get in past the first few sets of mountains, you can see incredibly beautiful scenery that is completely void of any signs of humanity. Of course it is heavily protected by the Parks and Rangers, but the main reason it is devoid of humans is because it is so hard to get there.
One of my favorite parts was the fishing. The entire Sierra’s are dotted with small lakes, most of which have an abundance of rainbow trout. This kind of fishing is different form ocean fishing, either on a pier of off a boat. If you are fishing on a pier, especially a crowded pier, you don’t have a lot of options other than to bait your hook, throw a line in the water, and wait. A boat is similar, although you can pull up anchor and go someplace else, but that takes a while, and you have to have an experienced captain that knows all the good spots.
Lake fishing in the Sierras is completely different. Because the lakes are relatively small, you can walk around the entire lake in 30 minutes or so. Which means if you cast a lure out a few times along the way, you can get an idea in as little as an hour if the fish are biting in that particular lake or not. And if that particular lake is not biting, you can go to the next one over, and so on. And as a bonus, while you are fishing, you are surrounded by the most beautiful nature you’ve ever seen. Even if you don’t catch any fish, you will still enjoy yourself. I’ve always had fairly good luck; even on that day I lost several lures before catching the biggest fish I’d ever seen.
Before joining the explorer scouts, I was a member of the regular Boy Scout troop. And as a Boy Scout troop, we had to do several different kinds of fundraisers. Mostly selling stuff, sometimes magazine subscriptions, or services. Sometimes we would have a carwash, or get together with other organizations and sponsor walk-a-thons and other things. This would require going door to door to solicit donations, or sales, or get people to put their name down on a list.
The interesting thing about this is that we could always tell, within a few houses, which street was going to be good, and which street was going to be bad. After a while, we would choose a different street if the first five doors turned out to be a bust. Before we learned that trick, it was not so much fun to go up and down the street and get rejected time after time. Some people even seemed to get angry with us for trying to sell them something, or get them to participate in a community service fundraiser. This one lady was particularly troublesome.
One thing one of our Boy Scout leaders told us was the value of qualifying. He said that you always need to qualify your market before you invest yourself too much. He had a high level sales position, I’m not sure where, but he was always putting things in terms of sales and sales strategy. He said every market is a potential gold mind or a potential heartbreaker, so it pays to learn how to qualify your market before you invest too much time or energy. Some markets you can come back to later, and they will somehow have transformed from a stinker to a real winner, so it’s important never to write them off completely. Always throw out a line, so to speak, and see how they respond. As soon as they turn cold, pick up your stuff and move on.
After we applied his rules into our five houses only strategy, we were able to sell a lot more subscriptions. And that one lady, before would have been a real ego-deflating heart breaker, but because of our attitude, she was really just pretty funny. She started screaming at us as soon as she answered the door, and started saying that the government was after her and that we were spies for them and that we had better not leave any listening devices in her mailbox. We were thirteen years old at the time. As I recall, she was number four on that block, but we needed to stick to our rule, so we went on to the next house.
So after I had lost two lures, I decided to try my last one. I had a three lure per lake policy, as the weeds at the bottom of the shallow lakes liked to eat your lures. My friend would always tease me because sometimes Iost more lures than the fish I caught. One the last lure for that particular lake, I caught these huge brown trout. When you catch a fish like that surrounded by all the people free mountains and flower filled meadows, it really makes you feel good. And you like to feel good, don’t you?