Allow Yourself to Think Beyond What You See

October 29, 2018

Over the weekend, I spent quality time with my two brothers.

We did so by taking a trip down memory lane: going to arcades.

I grew up in the city, in the era where video games started becoming popular and to a family that didn’t do outdoor activities.

Whereas other children would be in the park running around and rolling in the mud, we cousins got entertained with video games and visits to the arcade.

That was where we bonded as children and we shared memories.

So when my brothers and I were spending time together, it was no surprise one of us suggested hitting the arcades.

The visit brought back many memories but most of all, it reminded me of how I started on my entrepreneurial journey.

At the age of 6, my aunt Gerdie would take me and my cousins to the arcade every Thursday and almost every week during the summer holidays.

Each of us would get 50pesos (equivalent of 10 tokens) each time. And when we run out of tokens, we would meet her at a nearby cafe.

The six year old me was very much in love with those arcade moments – I loved winning and the sound of tickets being dispensed at different game stations.

What I didn’t like was having only 10 tokens

As a naturally curious person, I started thinking of ways to increase this budget. The more I thought, the more ideas I had. I started noticing the number of stationery items that were gifts to me lying around my bedroom.

I didn’t use them because I disliked them. But I thought “perhaps someone would like this”.  I didn’t realize it then, but that thought is the foundation of basic economic principles of Demand and Supply.

I thought they were such a waste lying around the house when all I wanted at that time were more arcade tokens. I didn’t grasp the idea of pricing yet and i sold those items at little monetary value – but I achieved my goal: to have more budget to buy extra arcade tokens.

That’s the thing about stretching limits and seeing beyond our naked eyes: we can see more opportunities in what we already have.

Instead of feeling sorry for not having more arcade tokens budget and feeling bad that I wanted more, I used that desire to get more arcade tokens budget.

The best thing my parents did for me was to encourage my curious mind and to always treat me as an adult even when I was a kid.

When my mom realized I had an entrepreneurial mindset, she encouraged me to manage my own money and to engage in a simple buy-and-sell business.

She never said anything like “It’s embarrassing to take money from others” or “You should focus more on your academics” because in reality, we all need to be financially literate.

Money should never be the only driving force behind going after what you want.  But it isn’t something to be ignored.

Maria Tan

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