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Dancing with the Devil: How to get ahead by going with the flow

Posted in Personal Journey by Robert Lindsay Thompson on January 1, 2011

When I was starting up my motion picture studio in California; cash strapped and hustling hard, the local fire marshal showed up one day and announced that he was intending to “shut me down” and put me out of business. Unbeknownst to me, the fire sprinkler system was inadequate for my intended purpose of using the building for a motion-picture sound stage. To replace the entire sprinkler system would take hundreds of thousands of dollars that i didn’t have… cause me to cancel the much needed contract with “Night of the Living Dead, Part 2”, and indeed, put me out of business.

Of course I was enraged. I intended to fight. After many sleepless nights, conversations with friends / business associates and desperate prayer… the image of dancing with the fire marshall, not fighting him came to mind. For those who are versed in the martial arts, the engagement was to look like Tai Chi “push hands” not a Tai Kwon Do break boards session.

My persistent gentle engagement with the fire marshall led me to a engineering firm that simply replaced the feeder pipe to the system… ran some fancy calculations, charged me a couple thousand dollars… and provided documentation for me to pass the fire code as a motion picture studio.

In business and in life, meeting force with force, is ultimately exhausting, futile and damaging… especially as one gets older! Finding ways to productively engage while remaining resolute is a much needed but rarely acquired art.

I explored this theme further on my personal blog at: ZenToast

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