make America great one opportunity at a time


“National honor is the national property of the highest value.”

James Monroe


“Results are obtained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems.”

Peter F. Drucker


“Great” is a fairly amorphous thing. It is not seamless and if we are honest ‘great’ is usually reflective of a temporary state (something permanent to aspire to). For example, a business may be ‘great’ and at the same time be a quivering mass of vulnerabilities and in a constant state of work-in-progress. That said. I admit. I am a 100% business guy and I have absolutely fallen into the “seeking results by solving problems” trap on occasion. I begin there to say despite that I know in my heart of hearts that exploiting emergent opportunities is the key to business success, but in the day to day grind, especially if you enjoy solving problems, you can get focused on “boy, I sure had a good day because I solved a lot of problems.”

  • Problems reflect tangible almost immediate pleasure and identifiable outcomes.
  • Opportunities are less tangible and more hopeful.

Unfortunately, day to day business cannot run solely on hope. And leadership is more often than not defined by providing, or uncovering, or supporting, opportunities to those who seek, and need them, the most. So, happy 4th of July America and let’s talk opportunities.

Which leads me to politicians and governing opportunities.

My biggest issue with most politicians is a general lack of understanding of business and how it applies to how a government & country can be managed. In fact, I would suggest most politicians are horrible at envisioning opportunities, they simply seek out votes (salving existing problems). Now. I continue to believe a business person with no government experience can never successfully manage a country and a lifetime politician will always struggle to understand the underlying attitudes and behaviors of a successful business. In my mind I believe someone who understands attitudes & behaviors & motivations is one most likely to be a successful governing leader. To be clear. This doesn’t mean understanding anger or frustration, but rather what motivates, inspires and makes people collectively move rather than individually stand and bitch. And, pointedly, it doesn’t mean standing around, or shouting from some podium, blaming someone for all the problems America has and shouting at the top of your lungs saying “I can solve these problems.” Those asshats should seek the opportunities that exist <and there are a shitload> and exploit them. Instead of arguing over problems we should argue over which opportunities represent the best opportunities for the better progress of America, i.e., identify and exploit opportunities.

“We hope. We despair. We hope. We despair. That is what governs us. We have a bipolar system.”

Maira Kalman

Look. There will always be questions. And there will always be ‘problems.’ Making something great is most often found in looking at what is and discovering the opportunities and exploit them. To be clear, opportunities don’t reside in the past.

I can’t bring back jobs, but I can create jobs.

I can’t stop globalization, but I can exploit the local opportunities globalization offers.

I can’t recreate a dying industry or dying skills, but I can create new industries with the skills that exist.

That is how a governing entity can help make America great.

Which leads me to ‘making America great.’

If we, or some leader, creates an environment in which opportunities are exploitable, and exploited by those who are most in need, all the major issues slip away. I often wonder why instead of bitching about what is ‘holding America back from greatness’ we accept some things are great and some things are not and get on with getting on. We may not understand the reason, accept the fact there will always be more questions than answers, and ask the best questions and use the answers to discover the opportunities and exploit them. Accept the fact that even though things may not be going the way you wanted them to go or the way maybe that it should go … well … opportunities exist <if you look>.

The American dream never resides in the past. The founding fathers had a dream of what could be – a future. And the biggest gift they gave us was not any document or law or ruling guidelines; it was the gift of looking forward and not backwards. The gift to shed problems and issues and disagreements by advancing confidently in the direction of what could be.


If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Henry David Thoreau


Making America great will never have anything to do with building any walls, or breaking up banks, or free college, or dividing people, or gun control, or any issue we seem to invest far too much energy debating. Making America great will always have to do with seeing the opportunities that exist – not any we have to actually create – and exploiting them.

Crumbling infrastructure? We have an opportunity to build whatever infrastructure we want.

Massive debt? We have an opportunity to cut unnecessary expenses <in the real world this is called “downsizing”>.

Archaic education system? We have an opportunity to throw out the old way and build a completely new way <and this doesn’t mean privatizing education which is not a real solution>.

Manufacturing? Build plants.

I could go on and on. Every supposed “problem” America has represents an opportunity. So maybe instead of running around trying to ‘fix’ all the problems someone should sit down and say “let’s go do something great.”

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”

Harry S. Truman

We are the ones who make history and we, people, are the ones who make up greatness. We do this through actions and words. Yeah. Words play a role. What I mean by that is the stories we tell ourselves matter. The stories we tell ourselves about people, events, the past, shape how we interpret and respond to and show up in the present and how we envision the future (possibilities). The stories ultimately become what we become. The words we use to tell ourselves stories matters. We should not deny reality, yet, we should also not deny hope for greatness.

248 years ago a relatively small group of men with really only one thing in common – a vision & the opportunity to build a country – saw opportunity as what would make the fledgling country great. And wrote some really important words down. That didn’t mean there were not problems nor did it mean they ignored problems nor did they get everything right, but they recognized the way out of almost every problem and issue was forward, not by fixing, and therefore they sought out opportunities and sought to exploit the opportunities to the benefit of a better America.

My wish for year 248 is to stop talking about what is wrong and who has done something wrong and instead talk about all the opportunities that exist. That would be a great attitude. Happy 4th.

Written by Bruce