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Is Opportunity Knocking?

The Clifton Review

The Clifton Review is a tri-weekly column that examines the question of the Clifton project along with the evolution of the war between two billionaires. We covered the start of this war with articles describing the battle over easement rights, the mysterious burning of a home, the blocks to rebuilding, and countless questionable court filings.

The 2018 series salutes fashion mogul Peter Nygard’s Golden Jubilee detailing his rags to riches story and incredible business success over these past fifty years. The Clifton Review will take an inside look at how he did it.

Is Opportunity Knocking?

By P.J. Malone

To what extent do we recognize an opportunity when it knocks?

Opportunities, described as “a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal” (by, admittedly, may not always be easy to recognize.

It doesn’t always appear outside our door with a big and bold sign that says “I AM OPPORTUNITY. SEIZE ME!” It might be subtle or even hidden from our immediate view.

Think of fashion mogul Peter Nygard’s foray into the fashion industry. The initial opportunity—the favorable condition—required him to first make a decision. Now, he had no way of knowing that the upcoming situation represented an opening that would allow him to take a struggling company and turn it into a multi-million-dollar enterprise.

However, Peter Nygard got a clue that the decision he was about to make was an important one. Remember, he was supposed to spend the day with a Miss Sweden beauty queen, a woman he had recently met and fallen in love with and wanted to marry. She would be leaving soon to return to Sweden.

He had to choose between spending the day with her or saying yes to the recruiter on the phone who was urging him to go for a 9am interview on a Saturday morning—even though, at age 26, he already had a big management job.

No one would have faulted him for turning it down—not because it was Miss Sweden, but because he already had a great job.

Here’s the clue Peter got. It was a feeling, a sense that this was an important interview and something he should do. He will tell you that he always gets that feeling or sense when he needs to pay attention to what’s in front of him.

So he did. He turned down Miss Sweden and went to the interview. At that interview, Peter was able to convince the owner of a struggling clothing company to not just hire him to be the manager of a new jeans line, but to give him an opportunity to earn equity.

That opportunity represented the ability to take an 8-thousand-dollar investment that Peter made in that company and turn it into an 800-million-dollar return fifty years later.

This opportunity was quite subtle and disguised. Yet, it was an opportunity.

Sometimes though, opportunity can come roaring into our lives. And they most certainly don’t like opportunities when that happens. Though it feels like a kick in the butt, we call them ‘God’s gentle nudges’.


We are talking about the opportunity that a firing might represent. I once heard a story of a man who was the President of a publishing company who unexpectedly got fired. He lost his home, and his kids had to find cheaper colleges and get jobs. He felt totally devastated.

His anger at his previous employers led him to use his expertise to set up a new publishing company. That new company made him millions.

What a wonderful kick in the butt for him.

Have you gotten a gentle nudge lately? Is there an opportunity staring you in the face that you don’t recognize but that may be your multi-million-dollar return? How about taking a closer look at the clues that you may have been given.

We’ll continue to discuss what these clues may look like in our next edition.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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