August 31

How The Spiciness of Pepper Can Inspire Your Turning Point

In every great life, there is a turning point. Here is one that might inspire you to have your own turning point.

On a warm spring day in the year 1665, a young curtain maker in the town of Delft was puzzling over a problem.

He was trying to figure out what made pepper taste spicy.

His assumption was that the pepper pieces had tiny hooks on them that pricked the tongue of the eater, causing the sensation of spiciness.

Wanting to see the hooks for himself, he soaked the peppercorns in water for several weeks to enlarge them.

Still unable to see the hooks, he got out his microscope, the one he had developed to see the quality of thread he was buying for his drapery business.

What he saw changed the course of his life forever

And the lesson he learned could change your life, too.

What Antonie van Leeuwenhoek saw under his microscope astonished him.

For, in that water, he saw not hooks on the edges of the pepper but rather at least four different kinds of living beings swimming around.

He was seeing, for the first time in human history, microorganisms.

The spiciness of pepper was quickly forgotten and the young draper instantly became the world’s first microbiologist.

He went on to become a world-renowned scientist and inventor, credited with the creation of over 500 lenses and 25 microscopes.

So why is this long-dead scientist’s turning point of use to you… other than the obvious fact that his discoveries and inventions have aided science for almost 400 years?

Because what van Leeuwenhoek experienced that day was a turning point in his life; a moment in time when he made a decision to act on his biggest dreams.

You see, our young draper wasn’t terribly interested in fabric.

He was interested in optical lenses.

He has been experimenting with them for years before his momentous discovery.

Every successful person has a turning point. He has a time when he decides to commit fully to a vision for his life. 

Steve Jobs’ turning point came when he met Steve Wozniak in an electronics course and decided to focus on building computers.

Warren Buffett’s turning point came when he read the textbook, Security Analysis, by his professor Benjamin Graham. It has permeated his investing ever since.

My own turning point came on December 29th, 2006 when, in the middle of the Sedona desert, I decided to create my own vision for my life and write a plan to achieve it.

So, my question to you is…when will you have your turning point?

When will you commit fully to living your vision?

When is the day that you invest in yourself and give it all you’ve got to accomplish your biggest dreams?

Start today

Make today the one you look back on as the one that changed your life for the better.


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  1. The point of your post is figuring out what you really want to do in life, but the course is about moving your business forward. That’s fine if you’re already doing what you want, but what if you’re not?

    The problem for me has been figuring out what I really want to do in the first place. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was stuck making curtains until he had that moment of discovery. Like him, I’m in a profession I’m good at, but have no passion for.

    It’s tough to move forward when you’re not doing something you care about. No amount of planning, goal-setting, or coaching can create that spark.

    That moment of discovery is elusive. Having a way to figure that out would be an incredible leap forward.

    1. That’s a great point, Phillip. It is tough to be stuck in a place that isn’t your ideal but not know how to change it. I was in that same position in 2006. It was so bad I thought of just walking away and starting all over.
      What I found as another solution is to write down in as much detail as possible what your vision really is. Want to own your own business? Write down what kind, how much money you want to make, what kind of market you want to serve, etc. Once you have that vision, then you can start making daily decisions that move you closer to it. For example, if owning a business is what you want, one thing you might need to do is save some money for the transition time. That becomes one of your areas of focus. Maybe something else is reducing your expenses or learning a new skill or taking a class.
      It is only when you have that clear vision that you can consistently make decisions that lead to it.
      And the quality of your life, ultimately, is the sum of the decisions you make. When you make them in alignment with a lovely vision, each day of the journey is glorious.
      Does that help?

      1. Being in my current business day in and day out, I never take the time to lift my head up to see what else is possible, or even think about what I’d like to do.

        So yes, that helps. Rather than trying to come up with ideas while I’m immersed in my regular work, I need to spend some time outside my normal routine and think through those questions – use my imagination instead of limiting myself to what I’m comfortable with.

        1. Phillip, I feel your pain. I just read 2 books as I am trying to gain some clarity here too. “The Art of Work” by Jeff Goins, and “Day Job to Dream Job” by Kary Oberbrunner. Had some good takeaways but haven’t had a serious ‘a ha’ moment yet. Still searching. Good luck to you!

  2. In addition, I think that most ‘moments’ are shortly followed by ‘taking a step’ and taking that step requires a significant amount of courage.

    So many of my friends are paralyzed by fear, and it prevents them from following that vision. “What if..” becomes the reason for complacency, an excuse for not following the dream, and clouds the vision. Instead of taking the step, we can get caught up in the preparation.

    Ultimately, decision and action is necessary. Yes, its hard. Yes, it’s sometimes scary. That’s why we’re entrepreneurs.

  3. Phil,

    Two short things.

    1. Ray Kroc never worked a day “in” his business but he worked every day “on” his business. Take some time to do that I think you will find it fun.

    2. “Entertain each idea royally for one of them might be king.”
    I live by this quote, it keeps my mind open, it has also cost me a fair amount of money over the years but I keep hoping.

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