Look for Treasure. Your Key to Success. ©
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DECEMBER 30, 2009
David J. Pollay, HappyNews Columnist

I learned early in life that it’s easy to be a critic. You can find fault with anything. The challenge is to sift through life looking for the good things, opportunities, and lessons to be learned.
(1) Dad’s view
When I was growing up in Milwaukee, the largest electronics superstore in the area was a company called American TV. And the owner, Len Mattioli, was famous in Wisconsin. He was known as “Crazy TV Lenny” and he was constantly pitching his store on radio and television. He was always yelling in his ads: “Buy a washer, get a bike! Buy a TV, get a bike!” He hawked his products at full volume.
One day I said to my father, “Dad this guy is nuts. He’s always yelling!” And my father said to me, “David, he’s a good businessman.”
My dad was right: Dad could see that American TV’s business was growing quickly. Mattioli did more than yell. Crazy TV Lenny found a way to draw people into his store. In fact, Mattioli took the original store and turned it into a chain of fifteen electronics superstores in the Midwest.
(2) Bill’s view
I met Bill Zito the summer before we both left Milwaukee for Yale University. One day we were sitting in the upper grandstand at the old County Stadium watching the Milwaukee Brewers play. I was asking him about all the players. Bill knew them: He had been the Brewers’ official batboy.
So, I asked him: “What’s Cecil Cooper like?”
Bill said: “Excellent guy.”
“How about Paul Molitor?”
“Excellent guy.”
“And what about Robin Yount?”
“Super-excellent guy.”
And this is how the conversation went as I talked to Bill about half the roster. I was surprised that everyone was an “excellent” guy. We all have heard so much in the news about professional ballplayers; I thought at least someone would not be so great. But in Bill’s eyes, everyone I asked about was an excellent or a super-excellent guy.
Bill’s ability to see the good in players has served him well. He is now a sports agent with forty professional hockey players on his roster.
(3) Preston’s view
Twenty years ago in New York City I was with my good friend Preston Kevin Lewis. We were looking for music in a record store when a song began to play. I leaned over the record bin and said, “I don’t like this music.” And Preston quietly said, “It doesn’t do a lot for me,” and kept looking through the stack of records. While the song I pointed out wasn’t his favorite, Preston didn’t spend any time focusing on the music he didn’t like; instead he searched for the music he did like. Preston now works for Warner Brothers, after stints with HBO Home Video, MTV, and Disney.
A lesson learned: Find the treasures
I remember these stories because they are woven together in a lesson that has stuck with me over the past two decades: When you look for the good, and when you expect the good, you’ll find the good. When you want to learn something new, there’s a treasure to be found.
This week
This week, observe yourself assessing the day-to-day events of your life, and the people you encounter. What do you say to yourself about them? What do you say to others?
Then, here’s the big question. When you make these comments publicly or privately, ask yourself: “What am I learning right now?” Do my comments and observations help me understand why someone is successful, why a business grows, and how a product sells?”
You will likely discover that your quick criticisms seldom lead you anywhere; they close the doors of your curiosity and creativity. Your life will remain as it is.
But when you tune your mind to look for the hidden treasures in life, you will discover lessons that you can apply to your own goals and dreams. You will advance your life.
Be a treasure hunter; the rewards are great.

David J. Pollay is the creator of The Law of the Garbage Truck™ (www.thelawofthegarbagetruck.com). David’s book, The Law of the Garbage Truck: Take control of your life with one, will be published by Sterling Publishing in September, 2010. You can find out about The Law of the Garbage Truck™ and David’s mission at www.thelawofthegarbagetruck.com. You can also read David’s blog at www.pollayblog.com.