Category Archives: Personal Development

Focus on the Present to Improve the Future

With great pleasure do I bring you the first article from Lance Chastain, a serial entrepreneur with years of insight, lessons and Observations just itching to get out.  I discuss much about investing/trading here at SelfInvestors while Lance provides a nice compliment to that  with conversations about his experiences that I think we can all learn from to achieve success not only in trading but whatever it is we do.  I know from speaking with Lance that he’s very excited about sharing his experiences to my readers and I hope that it provides a starting point for further dialogue. 

Observations by Lance Chastain

"If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present what comes later will also be better. Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Over the years I’ve kept substantial notes from my personal and business experiences….what I’ve come to call “Observations”. I suppose they could be called just about anything….lessons, perceptions, views, insights, considerations…but I prefer Observations. I like the term Observations because it implies a strong sense of active, continuous, hands on, engaged personal learning. I’ve come to appreciate how differing choices within similar circumstances broadened and enhanced my Observations in very subtle, almost imperceptible ways. As with the serious study of any subject, Observations require personal attention, interest and commitment and connote a more-than-casual sense of study or review…sort of like being face to face with customers, suppliers, employees in “hands on” mode vs. sitting in an office in front of a computer screen reviewing reports possibly generated by someone else. 

My interest in sharing Observations gained from my experiences through the opportunities and challenges of my personal and professional life is born from a genuine desire to see others prosper in every aspect of their lives. I’ve had the pleasure (and challenges for those in supervisory, management or leadership positions reading this) of leading and working with thousands of people in all kinds of situations over my 25 year business career. I’ve traveled extensively in Asia and worked there for extended periods (my wife would say I lived there from time to time). During my trips to Asia from the later 80’s and all throughout the 90’s I participated extensively as the now massive Chinese economy took its first baby steps, which quickly grew into giant leaps, towards becoming the powerhouse it is today. I’ve experienced the pleasure of being the recipient of numerous local, regional and national business awards, as well as being featured by CNN in a nationally televised segment entitled “Entrepreneurs Only”. I’ve also experienced the broken trust, painful loss, intense personal struggle and significant conflict that comes with the territory of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and losing nearly everything; and through the process developed a rather intense understanding of the old axiom “Success has many authors…failure has only one orphan.” I also know what it is to struggle through the necessary, although very difficult, inner personal work to keep proper perspective through tough times, begin again, have others believe in you (even when they have no tangible reason to) and be given the opportunity to apply all that was previously learned (for you golfers the best mulligan you could imagine) ultimately resulting in a level of success, benefits for my family and personal satisfaction occurring more rapidly than I ever thought possible.

I consider Observations to be one of the best tools, if not the very best, to help guide us through life’s experiences. Sort of like our ever present, internal, personal compass for navigating both the present, and more than likely somewhat familiar surroundings, to those situations that await all of us in the future. For some reading this, particularly tough circumstances may await you….if so, Observations can serve as critical lifelines to make it through.

And you know what? We all have them. But how many of us really take the time to carefully analyze what we’ve been through, process and record our Observations in order to apply them successfully in the appropriate circumstances later? For those of you that have, I congratulate you. I would imagine your own personal Observations may have come at a great cost and no matter what you may call them, they are treasured possessions, never to be taken away and always useful. For those of you that have not, I’m going to encourage you to begin!

By now you’ve figured out that I’m capitalizing Observations every time I use it. This may annoy some of you, so I apologize in advance. However, if you choose (and I really hope you do) to continue reading and communicating with me through the blog, my hope is that you’ll begin to think in terms of your own personal Observations and their importance (thus the capitalization) and how they’ve impacted your life for the better. For those whose blind spots have led them out into the weeds of life and possibly failure, I’ll be challenging you to work on honest, objective and constructive Observations in order to move forward right from where you are with better choices and decisions to benefit yourself and those around you.

To be continued next time….

Lance Chastain Author Bio

My entrepreneurial business career spans 25 years and is both domestic and international in scope. I quit college to co-found my first business at the age of 20 and subsequently received the education of a lifetime during the next 17 years. I was blessed with the opportunity to apply that education in my second business and am now semi-retired at 45. I’ve traveled to 27 different countries and have extensive experience in Asia involving nearly every aspect of raw material sourcing, manufacturing, operations, procurement and logistics. I’ve been the recipient of numerous local, regional and national business awards and been featured on a nationally broadcast financial news program. You can reach me at lchastain1 at but it’s best to leave comments about the article in the comments section below.