“Choose Wisely, Grasshopper.” – why it’s important to get a longer term view in your career.

“Choose Wisely, Grasshopper.”

“Kung Fu” was a TV series in the 1970’s. As a pupil at a Monastery learning the art of Kung Fu, a very young David Carradine playing the lead character was known to his Master by a pet name and was told to ‘Choose wisely, Grasshopper’, sage advice indeed.

To find out the link between Master Po’s teaching of the young David Carradine and how we think today, and more importantly, what we teach our kids, watch the short video or read more below:

In school we are taught to think in terms of what we want to be when we grow up and in retrospect I feel that is a flawed world view or paradigm. It’s flawed because it doesn’t allow young people to consider the long-term ramifications of choosing at such a young age.

For example, let’s take the A student who chooses medicine, a very worthy, noble calling. She studies hard for the ‘Leavin’ to get enough points; seven ‘A’s will probably do it, then she gets to go to college for up to six years before she starts to earn a living in her chosen career. And as an intern she may work up to 100 hours per week to learn on the job. If she survives that yes, she can earn six figures but it is in a high stress environment and she must turn up every day for the next forty years to generate said six figure income.

Now please don’t take this out of context, I am not knocking any particular career path or calling, I am just highlighting a fact I believe to be true: that people, particularly school leavers, choose careers without all of the available information, namely the different ways to earn a living, Employees, Self Employed, Business Owner, Investor and all that goes with each of them. Why is this? Because by their very nature, school teachers have jobs, are employees and can only logically advise on that line. I had fallen into the same trap. I had well-meaning people, most of whom loved me, i.e. family and friends, who were offering the best advice they could, based on their own paradigm – how they saw the world. The best I could hope for was to get a good job, work hard and hopefully retire within 45-50 years. So that’s what I set out to do at age seventeen until at age thirty I realized for me that, for me, this was a mug’s game and unless I took control, life would control me for ever.

My dilemma was I didn’t want to be self-employed either. I didn’t want a job and I didn’t want to be self-employed so what was left? Business Owner and Investor. So I chose Business Owner and I had to start somewhere. But where?

And then a series of events happened to show me the path for me. A good friend of mine, Frank Down had had an illustrious career. He was MD of Bewley’s Cafés when I first met him and it was he who gave me my first job there. Frank had subsequently been promoted to Business Development Director with the Campbell Bewley Group.

Then I heard through the grapevine that he had taken a Bewley’s Café Franchise and I was confused. Why would a man with such a good ‘job’ go back to running a café? It was only when I saw him sell the Franchise to another Bewley’s man, the former financial controller, Ian Conlon, and saw Frank take on the food Franchise at Bewley’s Hotel in Newlands Cross that I realised any move I would make TOWARDS my goal of becoming a business owner would not have to be permanent, it could be seen as a stepping stone. So I was willing to become self employed for a time. I was willing to run my own café.


MORE: If you enjoyed that and would like to watch last week’s Vlog click here

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Thanks for thinking with me.

Yours truly,


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