Vail Daily column: The catalyst |

Vail Daily column: The catalyst

Benjamin A. Gochberg
Valley Voices

You have risen to yet another day. This time you have — this is it. You don’t get a second try. Yesterday has been written in stone, and tomorrow is not promised to anyone. In spite of your longings, longings are simply not enough.

The cavalry isn’t coming. There’s no windfall. Your ship isn’t coming in. In the words of Stephen Colbert, no secret society is going to tap you on the shoulder. The world was not waiting for you when you were born. Nobody cares who you are.

Your desires — they don’t count, at least not without some action first. Look around you. All these people — most are just waiting around for their lives to happen. You can look around your own life and see the number of people waiting for the somedays that will never materialize.

How’s that for a pep talk?

Patience is important, but you must eventually realize: You actually are the one. The one that taps them on the shoulder, the windfall, the cavalry — that’s you. The story, your story, is waiting for the protagonist to leave the mundane comfort of the known. The unreasonable pursuit of happiness awaits.

But Ben, you say, I am a mere blahdy-blah. Yes — all the greatest protagonists are mere before they are mighty. How long will you mere? You have been writing the opening chapters long enough.

You see my friend, you can make the conscious choice to be the doer instead of the observer. You can be anxiously engaged in your own life instead of watching from the sidelines.

You take an average room full of people and look around. You realize that everyone is so caught up in protecting what is theirs that they fail to see that everything they want can be accomplished by collaboration.

Here’s how you do it:

Anxious Engagement in Doing Good

In every stage of life, you will face the choice to give or to take. I’m not just talking financially. I mean with your time, your compliments, your heart, everything. Cast your bread upon the waters — all the time. When you become the giver, when you create value, you will eventually be in a position to receive again. No one will listen to a selfish person. If you’re all about you, then nobody is going to help you do anything.

Fulfill the Dreams of Others

Everything that you know and everything that you do can be of value to other people. I jokingly say that the most money I ever made in my life was the result of a well-placed sincere public compliment without expectation of a return. Interestingly, the best friends I’ve ever made were created by the same activity. You can connect people to resources, information and even your own results. When you help people get what they want, you get what you want. Simple as that.

Go All Out

I get blamed for being a little too zealous about pretty much every endeavor I undertake. Why the hell would anyone play small though? I mean, be real — be authentic. If you make drinks or teach skiing or make commercial loans — own that. You’re the best damn ski instructor on earth. If you can’t say you are yet, then do what it takes internally and with practicing your skill to be able to tell the truth. I’m not kidding here — if you aren’t the best at some aspect of what you are doing and you aren’t trying to be, then why bother? I’m damn good at what I do. You should be too.

Be Gloriously Unreasonable

There is no room in this world for mean people. Don’t walk around being a crazy person or being a jerk. What I am saying here is this: You’ve got to be willing to do what others won’t take the time or energy to do. You’re the one who, in the face of an obstacle, does the thing anyway. You don’t gloat when you do it, but they know. They know that because you did the extra. You made it happen. If that doesn’t earn you respect in whatever you undertake, then I don’t know what will.


Here’s the best part of the whole thing — when you start to play like this, people who have chosen to play like this before you start reaching out. Like attracts like. Iron to iron, you are sharpened with each other. You start to realize that you aren’t just one crazy person trying to do something more. There’s lots of you, all collaborating and making the very best things happen. There are posers and sheep, yes — but for all the fake and the falsity, for all the posing and posturing, you finally find the ones that you were waiting for.

And that’s when you realize: Maybe there’s a cavalry after all.

Ben Gochberg is a commercial lender and business finance consultant. He plays, lives, works and is trying to do a little good in Eagle County. He can be reached for business inquiries or free consultation at 970-471-3546.

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