The Brightest Idea of All

Anyone who knows me or has read this column for any length of time knows I am not a touchy-feely or especially philosophical kind of guy. However, recent events have conspired to cause me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. This being our 2009 Bright Ideas Issue, I wanted to address a concept not covered elsewhere in these pages but probably more critical than anything else. 

My enlightenment, if you will, took place during my recent trip to Baltimore for the Electronic Security Expo (ESX), which you can read about in the report on page 16 or in my “Under Surveillance” blog at Although it was a nice event with a casual atmosphere and lots of managerial- and executive-level attendees that lent itself to outstanding meeting and networking opportunities, it was what happened away from the show that inspired my column this month.

Following the final day of the exhibition, I found myself waiting outside for my hotel’s courtesy shuttle to retrieve me. Due to the sunny and humid (95°) conditions, my weariness at the end of a show and the perspiration-inducing confines of my wool suit, what was likely 15 minutes seemed like an hour.

I was picked up by a middle-aged gent named Jeremiah who, despite the heat and rush-hour chaos, was relaxed and cheery. During our short ride, he informed me that it was his first day back on the job following six months of hospitalization and recovery. When I asked what had happened to him, I heard an amazing story.

He told me late in 2008 he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and would require surgery along with chemotherapy. While undergoing the standard series of screening tests for those procedures, doctors discovered irregularities with his heart. Upon further examination, four arteries were found to be completely blocked — a life-threatening condition that would have to be dealt with immediately.

Having been told he could suffer a fatal heart attack any moment, Jeremiah underwent a quadruple bypass that proved to be successful. While he was rehabilitating, a new treatment for prostate cancer came to light in which an injection could be used in place of the surgery and chemo to treat the disease. This procedure was also successful.

My fortuitous shuttle driver explained how his odyssey had given him a new lease on life, how his perspective about everything had totally changed, how he no longer takes a single breath for granted, and how his priorities are now living life to its fullest and spending as much time as possible with those he cares about. With an assured smile he told me everything else was insignificant by comparison.

“If someone complains about how hot it is, I tell them I am glad to be alive to feel the heat,” he said. “If someone says, ‘This traffic is horrible,’ I tell them I am just glad to be able to hear the sounds, smell the smells, see the sights and experience it.” When it comes down to it, isn’t that the essence of what truly matters most? The irony was not lost on me when Jeremiah concluded our encounter by saying, “Cancer saved my life.”

Further ensuring that powerful story and message would stay with me was the fact that during my few days on the road at least four famous people passed away — Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett, Billy Mays and the topper, Michael Jackson. Then, shortly after returning home my family’s beloved 17-year-old cat, Otis, fell ill and quickly succumbed to renal failure. Sobering events to be sure, but the idea I am suggesting is an extremely positive one.

Particularly in economically challenging times, it is all too easy to lose yourself in the daily grind of trying to make your business more successful, or even just to make ends meet. But when you take a moment to realize most of it is not life or death and remind yourself what’s really important, the rest of it is just gravy. As they say, don’t sweat the small stuff.  

If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

Security Is Our Business, Too

For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Commercial Integrator + Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add to your bottom line.

A FREE subscription to the top resource for security and integration industry will prove to be invaluable.

Subscribe Today!

Get Our Newsletters