Did you visit your Chocolate factory?

“There’s plenty of money out there. They print more every day. But this ticket, there’s only five of them in the whole world, and that’s all there’s ever going to be. Only a dummy would give this up for something as common as money. Are you a dummy?”

Despite needing money, Grandpa George is telling little Charlie to visit Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory rather than sell his golden ticket. My cofounder Santosh recently narrated this scene to me to illustrate how a simple change of perspective can change our view of a seemingly difficult situation.

We all want the ticket to our dreams, our chocolate factories. But that’s only possible if we first seek out the uncommon, the intangible (“sukshma”), and the unreasonable perspective to guide us there.

Often we can’t see this view unless we’ve previously tried something that’s uncomfortable and probably ridden with what the world calls “failure” or “risk”. J.K. Rowling describes failure as “stripping away of the inessential” to help reveal our true calling.

I recently read a book on the life story of Charles Goodyear whose obsession with rubber has created the many uses (including tyres) that we have for this material in our daily lives. He lived a life of poverty, getting neither money nor fame for his 29 years of experiments with rubber and the vulcanisation process.  Many people falsely believe that the inventor is connected to the tyre company that bears his name; the company started independently 38 years after his death and borrowed his name from history.

Do you really believe Goodyear could have worked on this problem for 29 years and published a 620 page book on the uses of rubber if he had been cribbing about social recognition and financial reward? He was already inside his Chocolate Factory and the perspective that got him inside was, “Life should not be estimated exclusively by the standard of dollars and cents. I am not disposed to complain that I have planted and others have gathered the fruits. A man has cause for regret only when he sows and no one reaps.” — Charles Goodyear

PS: We owe most of our world (and the Web) we live in to the inventors of the 19th and 20th century who listened to Grandpa George and chased the problems we term as “solved” today.


  1. Chetan Mehendale

    Very well written! Money is just a way to facilitate the exchange of goods and services – because, for example, carrying a truckload of coconuts to exchange for an iPad is a cumbersome process (even though both coconuts and ipads are equally valuable to their respective buyers). Unfortunately, many people still consider money to be the end, rather than just the means.

  2. A very interesting and valid perspective. Makes me want to read the whole book now. :)

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