by: Geoff Ficke

What was true when written in Sophocles revered 5th Century B.C. text Phaedra, is ever-more true in the 21st century. Other than the lightning struck few who win a lottery prize, fortune, and success in life is not given easily, and certainly not to the faint hearted. The opportunity to succeed in any endeavor is available to all fortunate enough to live in free societies, but in reality this blessed gift is seized by few.

We live in an age of unparalleled comfort, prosperity, leisure and freedom. People work less than our forefathers and at far less burdensome, dangerous, life-shortening occupations. We eat better, live longer, and enjoy endless entertainments. The average American living today enjoys a far more comfortable physical lifestyle than the richest man in the world a century ago, John D. Rockefeller. We have unlimited travel options, convenient, affordable foods, central heat and air conditioning, medicines and health care that was but a dream for prior generations.

And yet, so many seem so sullen. The media constantly trumpets the ills (perceived) of contemporary society. Opportunity is being diminished they state. Times are tough. Jobs are scarce. Retirement is not attainable according to the purveyors of gloom. Balderdash! There has never been a better time to be alive, to pursue dreams and unlimited opportunity and improve one’s fortune.

My Product Development, Marketing Consulting firm is blessed to be exposed to people who seek and attain the American dream. Every single day we are approached by individuals choosing to plot their own path and make their fortune; financially, personally and professionally, by dint of their own effort and sweat of their brow. They have ideas, drive, goals and the courage to avoid being lumped with the faint-hearted.

Our area of special expertise is in the Consumer Product realm. From Cosmetics, to Pet Products, to Fashion, to Sporting Goods, to Toys, and beyond to many other consumer product categories, we are fortunate enough to meet people who still are driven to succeed on their own terms by starting enterprises, launching products and being self-reliant. They are not faint-hearted, quite the opposite, they are pioneers. They face numerous obstacles. If good fortune were easily achieved everyone would be successful. They would overcome any and all obstacles that stood between them and success. We know, however, that this is not the way of the world. Most people do not achieve great and good fortune simply because most do not try.

Good fortune means different things to each of us. For some, it is making money to keep score. For others, it is living a life that is productive and maximizes personal freedom. Still others are driven to produce goods or services that improve the lot of their society. The reasons we seek success, and the definitions of that success take endless forms and are highly personal.

No matter our personal definition of good fortune, it is true, as stated so elegantly and simply by Sophocles, “Fortune is not on the side of the faint-hearted”. In order to avoid leading a dull, unchallenging life we will have to confront and wrestle with risk. The faint-hearted seek out ways to avoid challenges. This can be fine for them. But, it will not lead to a life of excitement and good fortune. You have to enter the contest in order to have a chance to win. Life is too short to let it pass without competing.

Author's Bio: 

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, Inc. ( has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.