Vail Daily column: Stand to gain | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Stand to gain

Benjamin A. Gochberg
Valley Voices

Loss is an everyday part of life for a banker. Risk of loss is part of the equation. One of the most heartbreaking things for me personally is witnessing a child experience loss. It doesn’t even have to be a major loss, like the loss of a family member. In most cases, in fact, I find myself feeling sad for things as simple as a child who lets their balloon go or drops their ice cream cone. I can’t even watch commercials on TV which show situations like these because it messes with my emotions so much.

It is not the loss itself which is so heartbreaking. Those of you who have witnessed situations like these likely know what I’m talking about. The child is experiencing legitimate and sincere sadness, regardless of the size or scope of the loss. Usually, fixing the situation for the child can be easily handled by an adult. A balloon costs a dollar, an ice cream cone about the same. We have the technology to rebuild said cone. The amount of personal resources required to replace a balloon or an ice cream are insignificant to most adults, but not to the child. Sometimes adults do a good job of sympathizing, and sometimes we’re not as engaged as we should be.

As we get older, we learn to accept that some of these losses are insignificant — at least, this is what we believe. Instead of worrying about letting go of a balloon, we start to worry about other things — bigger things, significant things, in our opinion. These things, we argue, are harder to replace — require more resources. Loss of job, loss of love, loss of reputation, loss of money, loss of health and on and on and on goes the list.

How interesting it is that the oldest and wisest among us do not worry about the same things to the same extent that the generations after them do. Many of them have passed through these losses and made it to the other side. I would wager that there is a great lesson hiding somewhere in this mess of thought.

Rather than try to argue away the significance of any loss, whether an ice cream cone or a home, I’d instead like to focus on the more uplifting side of this conversation — now that we’ve got the unpleasant parts out of the way.

Instead of talking about what we might lose, perhaps we should be asking ourselves what we stand to gain out of our lives.

When properly considered, the truth is that we stand to gain just about anything we could ever want.

Do you seek wealth? You can attain it — money is an unlimited resource. You can trade your labor for it, your mind for it and even your body for it (not recommended by this banker). You are valuable and you will earn money — you worked hard for it before, and you can do it again. Wealth is a way of being which follows a state of mind. If this is what you seek, then decide to find it.

Do you seek love? You can find it. Love is an unlimited resource. When you were younger, you remember feeling it for the first time. It was exciting. You were vulnerable. All of this can be found again. If this is what you seek, then decide to find it.

Do you seek peace? You can feel it — peace is an unlimited resource. It is the confidence you felt when you knew you were whole and right. You lived your life as if in the noon day sun. You were of one mind and purpose. You’ve been there before. If this is what you seek, then decide to find it.

What then, if anything, is limited? If all things are truly attainable, then why do some attain while others do not?

There is but one limited resource. It isn’t coal or gold or knowledge. It isn’t related to capacity, skill or context. The only limited resource, my friends, is time. Most men and women do not fail. They simply run out of time in which to succeed.

These thoughts make me carefully consider how we are spending our only limited resource. Are we building, learning, creating, developing, loving and living? Are we justifying, procrastinating, regretting, fearing or wasting?

If there is any one loss to be afraid of, then may the fear of loss of our only limited resource cause us to burn the dross right out of our lives. Go crazy creating and living the life that you have always imagined — or die trying. I’ve certainly found it to be much more fun than doing just about anything else.

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.