Hello and good day!
Have you ever been on the verge of giving up on something that you really didn't want to give up on?
Isn't that a bad feeling? You know you shouldn't. You've put a lot of time and effort into a thing. You promised yourself that you wouldn't. But for whatever reason, you find yourself loosening your grip and almost letting go.
Well, my friends, that almost happened to me just now.
I'm on an airplane flying to Peru as I write this.
I've been writing these daily emails for a few years now. I've been good about writing almost every day. From time to time, I've fallen out of the habit and sometimes ended up going weeks without writing.
And when that happened, I got messages from people asking me to start writing again. They told me that they liked hearing about chocolate and cacao farmers and what was going on with our company.
Since we are in the business of serving people and making them happy here at Fortunato Chocolate, I decided that I wanted to oblige the folks who enjoyed getting the daily email.
As a result, 281 days ago, I set a goal for myself to write for 1,000 days in a row, come what may. The idea is that it doesn't matter if I get sick, or if I am traveling, or anything else, I will find a way to write at least a little something every single day. I will write on weekends and holidays.
This is almost a three-year commitment of taking daily action. I figured this would be a good way to prove my dedication to our company and to our customers.
I'd call it something like a spiritual commitment, at least on my end.
Anyhow, we were up at 3:30am this morning with our three young kids to catch an Uber to the airport. We've been on several connecting planes.
All the regular stuff with kids and airports has been happening. Bathroom emergencies. Bickering. Long lines. My kids are stud travelers so it hasn't been as bad as it could be.
This has been the first free moment I've had so far and I truly, deeply, wanted to just fall asleep. I thought to myself, you know what, I'll do the writing later. But later we'll be in a taxi riding through Lima and then in a hotel getting ready for bed. It won't happen.
Now is the only time.
I once heard somebody say that we all have the potential to be our own worst enemy because we know exactly what to say to convince ourselves of something.
Nobody can put a better sales job on us than the one we can put on ourselves. I'm telling you, I was about 5 minutes away from throwing away a 281-day streak.
But you know what I thought about?
I thought about the times when my brother Brian was getting tired of making the 17-hour bus ride out to the jungle. There were many times we got calls from Brian in which he told us that he just didn't want to do it again.
He didn't want to say goodbye to his family anymore. He was sick of riding a bus every two weeks to and from our cacao buying and processing operation.
But every time, he ended up dragging his butt over to the bus station and making the trip. He did that for more than ten years.
And when you ask him why he did that, he'll tell you that he did it because he made a promise.
The biggest hurdle we had to overcome to get our chocolate business up and running wasn't the muddy roads or learning to ferment and dry cacao. It was convincing our cacao farm partners that we weren't going to leave after a couple years.
No foreigners had ever done business out there and most folks were certain that we'd come in all excited about a new project and then it wouldn't work, and then we'd leave.
Meanwhile, our farm partners would have burned bridges with their previous buyers, and they'd be stuck without a consistent buyer for their cacao.
That is not a risk our cacao farm partners could afford to take lightly. We had to promise that we wouldn't leave.
Not after 2 years.
Not after 5 years.
Not after 10 years.
Not after 15 years.
Not during a pandemic.
Ideally, not ever.
And the way to prove that point was to live up to our promise and keep showing up.
Even when it meant that Brian had to miss his daughter's dance recitals, of which he missed many.
So, the least I can do is live up to what I promised. It took me having to override the sales job I was running on myself. But I guess we all have to do that from time to time.
I'll be in Peru for the next couple of weeks and it is something that I am looking forward to very much. Of late, I have been reading a ton of Peruvian history, and Peru has fascinating history.
Everybody knows about the Incas, but I was just reading about the war between Chile and Peru from 1879 - 1883. Chile invaded from the south and whipped Peru and took some of their resource rich land.
Here is what was so sad and peculiar. A lot of the rich Peruvian landowners, the aristocrats, descendants of conquistadores, folks who inherited generations of wealth originally taken by conquest, supported the Chilean army.
They sent funds to help Chile take the land.
Because they would be cut into investment projects on the land after the war was over. They cared more about getting richer than protecting their homeland.
I'm going to write more about this episode tomorrow because in it you find the root cause of a lot of the political instability that Peru has suffered over the years.
And it is applicable to the United States too. And most governments for that matter. I will also give you a recommendation for an excellent book on Peruvian history.
Sorry if there are some typos in this. I'm not able to do my regular proofread on a plane.
Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
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