Turning crisis into opportunities
Photo: The engine that started it
I am sure you are intimately familiar with days where nothing seems to work in your favor. Such a day happened to me during apprenticeship way back when in Germany. It was a late afternoon fall day and I had just finished with work and I was on my way home. The engine suddenly sputtered and hesitated like crazy and I barely made it home. This was just what I needed – not! How would I get to work the next day without the car? This was going to be an expensive repair. Would I even be able to afford the fix?
That same evening I went to the local gas station in the village and the owner agreed to take a quick look. He did that and told me that he had no time to fix it until later in the week. Well now, that was not going to work. Just as I tried leaving the gas station I saw a relatively new Audi with out of state plates on it pull in. The nicely dressed owner got out and started to talk to the gas station owner. He also had had car troubles and need to get it looked at right away. I stopped in my tracks as I observed the car getting pulled into the shop bay and getting worked on right away. I was totally shell shocked and mad as a hornet. For one I learned that being neatly dressed, driving a nice car, and money get people’s attention and help getting problems fixed. The more important lesson I picked up was that I could choose turning a disaster into a great opportunity. That was the day I turned this trouble into a passion of mine: Fixing cars, bicycles, and motor cycles.
Still mad at the gas station owner for not helping me, I bought myself a repair manual the next day and also a few special tools and parts. I used my old moped to get to and from work allowing me to work on the car engine. I went in my garage to address the problem. It turned out to be a blown head gasket that did not take long to fix at all. I had a lot of fun doing the work and was quite happy with the result and myself. Not only did I get this fixed a lot sooner than any shop would have been able to fit me into their schedule, but I also saved a lot of money. Almost overnight I had turned a moment of being disappointed and mad at a situation into a lifelong love for fixing things on wheels and otherwise.
The defining moment of change was realizing whether or not I wanted to do something about this problem myself was nobody’s choice but mine. Once I chose that this problem was also an opportunity things turned for the better. I even received unexpected help from my uncle and granddad who both were very handy people. When life hands you lemons, you can choose to make lemonade out of it.