by Doug Harvey
I used to work for a large office supplies company. Like a lot of companies, there would be the dreaded annual event of stock taking to look forward to. It was a time of “all hands on deck”. It made no difference what your position was, we all had a part to play in counting out and recording each item of stock held in the warehouse. People would be found in dark corners counting everything from thermal sealing devices to staples.
From time to time, a quantity of certain items would be discovered as either not on the original list or simply obsolete. For the bargain hunter, this was good because it meant they were no longer required by the company and were to be tossed out. Many a worker would go home with their pockets stuffed with pens or cars loaded with printer paper! All perfectly legitimate I would add!
Have you noticed how people love bargains? Everywhere you go, you find events like clearance sales, summer sales, January sales, clearouts, garage sales, jumble sales, second-hand stores (thrift stores in the U.S.)., etc., etc., Why is that? Why are some of us quite prepared to queue for hours, “fight” for a good position, jostle with others over the “bargain of the day”? It could of course, be simply to do with saving money, but perhaps a better concept would be that within the hope of identifying something of value, you have to give little in return.
Gambling is a similar concept. People place their money in a position where they feel they will get something for nothing (or little outlay). We seem to be a world of “treasure hunters” each seeking for our gold reward.
An interesting thing though, regarding treasure hunting, is that there is a considerable amount of work involved.
Let's give some simple modern day examples of that:
Jumble Sales/Bazaars/Garage Sales/conventional shop/store sales and fetes all have similar requirements – If you want the treasures or the bargains, you need to be somewhere up front in the queue. You need re-enforcements too! The way to play it is that the chief buyer of the group has to take point (as they say in the military), with ideally at least two assistants that cover the rear. Why? So that the minute those doors open, those guarding the rear can ensure they block the way of others coming up from the back of the queue cannot get past! Once through the doors, it is a similar tactic. The chief buyer goes to the table or stall where the “treasures” are to be found, whilst the rear guard (three are better for this), form a semi circle around the buyer from behind, to make sure they are not jostled out of position by the use of pushing, elbows, and carefully positioned umbrella points! All this after having been queuing to get in (in all weathers) for up to an hour before it starts! In fact, for some store/shop sales, it is not at all unusual for a small camping site queue to develop right outside the front of the store a day or two in advance!
Secondhand or thrift stores are different. This is more about tactics than the almost all out
warfare of the previous treasure hunting variety. You could be well rewarded if you could work out when the main delivery days are from the
store's distribution base. Some deliveries are made straight to the store of course. If you are really keen to be the first to sift through the latest load, then you too might find yourself queuing before the store opens. Once inside, occasionally, the point/flank tactics can be useful.
Other kinds of treasure hunting include walking around with something akin to a walking stick pointing at an angle toward the ground and a handleless frying pan attached to the bottom of it. The owner can be seen trundling along beaches and muddy fields in the hope of seeking some long lost
artifact or at least some small change that was once the lost content of a
child's pocket money. Or if they are really lucky, a £1000 watch that had fallen from a beach towel! I have always rather fancied trying it myself to see what I might discover in my local park! (It's around 100 miles to the nearest beach!)
What had to be undergone however, before that stage of “freedom” to help themselves to things that they perceived to be of value could occur? Effort. All in all, “treasure hunting” or seeking something of value, of any kind takes effort. A lot of that effort involves stress and anxiety, some is just plain persistence, motivation and energy. Somewhere in there from time to time, you will also find that not so good ingredient – disappointment.
To get back to the title of this article (“6 Steps To Your Personal Treasure” – in case you have forgotten!),
let's take a quick look at what a good offer or bargain would consist of. How about this description: “A bargain offer would be the presentation of an item that required less expenditure without loss of quality”. How does that sound? Fair? I want to break that down a little further. As the potential buyer of such an offer, what would it take for the item to be important to you and worth pursuing? Here is a short list of random things I feel might be valid. Please feel free to make your own list if you like:
1. I must see it as having value to me or to a person I wish to give it to.
2. It must not require as much expenditure as normal.
3. In must not require any more effort to obtain than I am prepared or able to apply.
Okay, so we have identified what a clearance offer might consist of, now let's take a look at what might prevent us from winning such a prize:
1. Someone else might beat us to the prize.
2. It might require more effort from us than we are prepared to apply.
3. We might make a mistake in perceiving its value to us or to the person you wish to give it to.
4. The quality may not be that which we perceived it to be.
How would you feel if you could have all the opposition removed i.e. if all those potential problems did not exist? Relieved? Excited? Something similar? Of course you would, and you would have your valuable item – your treasure. If that is what you want – what you truly want, you can do it. You can start collecting your treasures together. I suppose you would like to know how now? Okay, here are the steps to direct access to your identified treasures:
STEP 1: Recognize what you consider to be treasure.
STEP 2: Know where to find it – take some form of guide if necessary.
STEP 3: Protect yourself using appropriate tactics as you make your way toward your treasure.
STEP 4: Pay the price for the treasure
STEP 5: Keep the treasure secure
STEP 6: Apply the treasure in the most productive way
Let's look at those steps a little more closely.
STEP 1: Recognize what you consider to be treasure. This is all about values. What might be of value to one person, might not be of such great value to someone else. To use a personal example, I am quite religious, so the Bible and other scriptures are very important to me. These are “treasures” to me. To someone who is not religious, they may well be considered simply as historic books. There are many analogies that could be used. There are things taken for granted by some people, but are the key to life itself for others. Take water for example. I turn on the tap and drink, wash, etc.
I'm quite sure you know of places where if there is water, it is unfit for use. Recognize your treasure – what it is that has value to you. Life is not just about money and financial profit.
STEP 2: Know where to find it. Take a guide if necessary. The treasure maps of old where not like the route planners of today that get you from place to place with every turn indicated. They were deliberately vague and calculated to only be interpreted by the privileged few. You need to know where your treasure is otherwise you will not be able to access it. Obvious stuff really, but someone had to say it! Actually is it obvious? It will certainly be a lot more obvious if you have got step 1 right.
STEP 3: Protect yourself using appropriate tactics as you make your way toward your treasure.
There's competition out there. Those things that are valuable to you may possibly be unique to you, but that
doesn't stop other people and organizations from trying to take those values from you and replace them with their own. Letting your guard down would allow this to happen, So how do you do this? The story goes of a tree that produced valuable fruit. The only way to reach that tree and its fruit was to tread a narrow path through an area that was difficult to see through. With opposing forces trying to divert the seeker of such fruit, it was all to easy to lose their way. Fortunately, alongside this path was an iron rail. All the seeker had to do was hold tight to that rail and follow it. That is what you need to do, discover your strengths and hold on to them as you seek for your treasure. Do not be diverted. Constantly remind yourself of your purpose.
STEP 4: Pay The Price For The Treasure. For a ship to set sail in search of treasure, do you suppose it is free to do so? What about paying the men? You might say that the discovery of the treasure is payment enough. Perhaps so, but what of the sustenance for these men as they journey? What of the cost in terms of time and materials? What of sacrifices that may have to be made that will enable both the journey and the discovery to be made? You can have anything you want in this world, as long as you are prepared to pay the price.
STEP 5: Keep the treasure secure. Nearly every pirate film I have seen where there is the discovery of treasure involved, there seems to be a very insecure process of gathering and storing the treasure. The pirates tend to launch themselves at with delirious attention. They
don't seem to care what is dropped along the way. They virtually leave a trail in their wake. The treasure chests are loaded with almost equal abandon.
You could argue that with so much treasure why should they worry? The point I am making is that whatever is lost or left behind, someone else is likely to gather. How important is your treasure – your set of values? Can you afford to let some of them slide away from you? Can you afford to not be particularly concerned about your values if they fall along the way?
STEP 6: Apply the treasure in the most productive way. Sticking with our pirate analogy, what inevitably would pirates do with the treasure they gathered? Do you think they would simply eat from gold plates, drink from gold cups etc., for the rest of their lives? To some extent, they would, but a good proportion would be melted down and turned into gold bullion as it would be easier to distribute and exchange. To the pirate, the beauty and workmanship of the articles would not be kept and admired – except perhaps by some or for a short while.
Your treasure – your values have a purpose. They declare who you are – the essence of your character. How you apply those values in your everyday life not only formulates the existence of your choice, but also affects others around you – especially those close to you. Your example can help others to secure their own treasure.
So what have we discovered here? What have we learned? Personally, as I have put this together, it has consolidated my thinking in three areas. Maybe it has done the same for you:
1) The real treasures of life are not material things.
2) My values are amongst my greatest treasures because they formulate my life and affect the lives of others.
3) You have to work not just to build or obtain values, but also to keep them.
Values – the treasure not kept in a chest, but in the heart.