Editorials by Robert Kirwan

We Need Not Be Afraid of Adversity
It Will Make Us Stronger!


As the community of Valley East continues to struggle in the face of a large economic slow-down, it is becoming clear that our entire future will depend on the courage and tenacity of young people who are willing to avoid the lure of greener pastures in the south. 

I recently took part in a celebration which recognized close to one hundred young entrepreneurs who have set up business in the City of Greater Sudbury during the past ten years or so. Some of those businesses set up in Valley East. It was a very touching ceremony, especially in light of my background in marketing and advertising. I know that small businesses are struggling. I also know that many people who depended on those small businesses for part-time employment have lost their jobs and they too are struggling to make ends meet while attempting to remain in the Sudbury area.

A gentleman by the name of Neil Eskelin once said that the way to understand adversity is to take two identical acorns from the same oak tree and plant them in two different locations. Plant the first one in the middle of a dense forest, and the other one on a hill by itself. The oak standing on a hillside is exposed to every storm and gale. As a result, its roots plunge deep into the earth and spread in every direction, even wrapping themselves around giant boulders. At times it may seem the tree isnít growing fast enough, but the growth is happening under ground. Itís as if the roots know they must protect the tree from the threatening elements. On the other hand, the acorn planted in the forest becomes a weak, frail sapling - having to compete with giant oaks for nutrients and space. And since it is protected by its neighbours, the little oak doesnít sense the need to spread its roots for support.

A young person, or even an older person for that matter, who decides to set up business in Valley East is well aware of adversity and challenges. The business will face many ďstormsĒ, especially in the early going. The business owners will have to be very much aware of opportunities and be willing to change direction often in an effort to establish strong roots in the form of relationships and associations. The young entrepreneur will have to pay a great deal of attention to quality of work and be responsible for providing only the best of service to clients. At times, it may seem as if the business is doomed to failure, and the long, hard hours of dedication and work will be difficult to take. Growth will also be very slow as the business spreads its roots throughout the community in order to survive.

An immigrant who came to Sudbury from Europe many years ago, and lived his life as a successful businessman, compared life in this city to a cafeteria. When he first arrived in town, he sat down in a cafeteria-style restaurant and waited for someone to take his order. Of course, nobody did. Finally a woman with a tray of food sat down opposite him and informed how a cafeteria worked. She told him to start at one end and then go along the line picking out what he wanted. At the end of the line a person would tell him how much he had to pay. The immigrant explained, ďI soon learned thatís how everything works in Sudbury. Lifeís a cafeteria here. You can get anything you want as long as you are willing to pay the price. You can even get success, but youíll never get it if you wait for someone to bring it to you. You have to get up and get it yourself.Ē

These are two very important lessons, not only for young entrepreneurs, but for anyone who has enough confidence in this region to remain in Sudbury, and in particular, Valley East, and build a life here. First of all, donít be afraid of disappointments, frustration and adversity. It will make you stronger and help you develop a strong root system, which will enable you to survive all storms you will face over the years. Secondly, donít wait for someone to bring you success. You have to get up and get it yourself.

Good luck to all young people who are ready to give Valley East a shot. Our future depends on you.

Until the next time...


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