Tune out naysayers and focus

Published 10:09 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2018

By Nathan Rice

Kevin O’Leary, a venture capitalist and one of the stars of the television show “Shark Tank,” is known for his gruff demeanor and extremely blunt advice to those seeking an investment to help grow, build or save their business.

He has told several business owners and inventors that their product isn’t good enough or that they’ll never make money on their idea. He has even told some that he “forbids” them from going forward while declaring that their invention or business is a waste of time and money. “Take it out behind the barn and shoot it!” is his advice to some who stand before him.

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I’ve never tried to start a business, but I believe Mr. O’Leary would forbid me from going forward with my life goals. I’ve poured a significant amount of my money along with huge portions of my time into endeavors that I hoped would help others and make the world a little brighter. I’ve tried to help many, but my efforts have failed. The money I’ve poured into various efforts have yielded zero results, and my efforts to help others have fallen flat. I know I have done my best, but the outcome is clear.

I know with my lack of results that I’d never get an investment from those on “Shark Tank.” Kevin O’Leary would probably tell me to “end the foolishness,” but I refuse to stop trying to make a difference. There are several reasons I will never stop trying to help others.

First, I hold on to the hope that my efforts will one day be successful in helping someone. I may have fallen short of this goal for many years, but I refuse to allow this to keep me from giving my best effort to help others in their journeys. There may be some people down the road that I will be able to reach or help. Past failure does not guarantee future failure.

Next is my desire to be able to hold my head high regardless of the outcome. I am able to proudly look back on my efforts knowing that I gave it my best, even if the outcome is not what I had desired. There is a peace that comes from knowing I gave 100 percent.

Lastly, and most important to me, is a command from the One I’ve chosen to follow. Jesus called His followers the salt and light of the earth, ordering them to do good to all they could while sharing the love of the Father. He never gave permission to stop if those efforts did not yield results.

I encourage those who feel like me to continue trying to make our world a little brighter. Tune out the Kevin O’Learys of the world who may tell you to give up on helping others and to focus solely on yourself. Keep going! Keep giving! Keep working! There are those down the road who need your help. Keep your head up high and keep trying to bring a little light into the darkness.

Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at nrice@abnb.org.