A Short Treatise on the Power of Positive Thinking


MARGARET RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA- Well I have to say, after a month or so, working on the vineyard is not quite what I thought it was going to be…but it’s one of those things where I have to ask myself, what did I expect it to be? What did I expect to get from this experience? I mean, I’m working on a vineyard, but is that worthwhile? Am I learning anything? Am I really working there, or might I have just worked in a field somewhere else? Among other various tasks (such as bottling wine), we’ve spent the vast majority of our time pruning grape vines, which I won’t get into the details of since I would prefer that you all keep reading this. It’s a great place to work, but in reality, I have little day-to-day exposure to the winemaking experience, which is what I was really looking for when I sought this job.

Yet I can look at this one of two ways, and that’s why the language I use to frame my experience and thus the subsequent attitude it forms is so important, since it has the ability to cast things in a positive or a negative light. The language that I choose to describe this experience both in conversation, but more importantly to myself, makes the experience real. So if I choose to take the negative side and think wow, I’m not learning anything about wine since I’m not being shown the process step by step, I bust my ass all day long, come home exhausted, and after a while my office (however beautiful it is) becomes just another place of business where there are whole days that go by where I don’t take a moment to appreciate where I am and what I’m doing…I don’t immerse myself in the marble stone architecture, and the witty conversation most people associate with wineries...that becomes my reality if I choose to describe my experiences from a negative point of view.

Instead, I choose to think of my experience from the positive point of view and make a specific point to transform the positive point of view into my reality. I look at my current job as a learning experience, working in a boutique industry and having the unique opportunity to observe the business processes from the bottom up.

Understanding just how hard you need to work to make an expensive commodity like wine, and realizing that quality begins from the first seed that you plant in field, then making sure those seeds grow properly into grape vines, which are watered in the right way, and subsequently picked and collected in the most efficient manner, and that after picking the vines are properly pruned to ensure a maximum ideal crop for the next year, and that once picked the grapes are stored at the right facilities, at the ideal temperature, in a palatable economic climate so they can be turned into wine, which of course needs to be the right color for the vintage, and must be bottled for aging (most wine is not aged in casks), down to the very specific point that wine labels cost $1 each, and it is thus most efficient to bottle and pack the wine unlabeled, finally unpacking it years later to place them on since there is no sense spending $1/bottle until you absolutely have to. Everything in this sequence is tried and tested to ensure efficiency, because there is a lot of money that goes into this operation and even more opportunity for things to go awry. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears go into making something as fine as a premium wine, and if you want the end product to be worthwhile, you need to give it your all.

Merv, the owner of the estate, is in the field every day, still in debt, working his ass off right next to the rest of his workers to ensure that his 70,000 vines are properly cared for. That is his business, his livelihood, and its success depends utterly and completely upon whether he has accounted and planned for every eventuality on the margins. If you want to start your own business, or become a seasoned professional and truly great at the skills you choose to hone and value in this life, you need to be prepared to give it your everything, to really make sacrifices in other realms of your life to become successful. After work happy hours are no longer yours, weekends are no longer yours, peaceful nights’ sleep are no longer yours…your focus and dedication is to that particular niche you chose to specialize and excel in.

The other lesson I want to take from this experience is that if I say I want to work at a vineyard, I should know why and have a clear expectation of what this will entail. Expectations are everything, and whatever you want in life, you need to have a clear idea of why you want it and what consequences it is going to have for the rest of your daily, monthly, and eternal existence. There are significant tradeoffs to the choices you make in life, but it all starts with the attitude you choose to take after you have made those choices. So choose positively, and begin, today, to make that the reality of the world you live in.