A Little Wooden Box

Opportunities often arise from the most unexpected places. Sometimes, it takes a shift in perspective to uncover hidden treasures right before our eyes. This lesson is beautifully illustrated through a personal story about discovering a forgotten treasure in an old wooden box, a tale that underscores the importance of resourcefulness and action taking.

The Unexpected Discovery

When faced with financial uncertainty after a recent redundancy combined with an imminent new baby, my husband and I searched for any possible assets to tide us over. One day, after my asking if we had anything, anything at all we might sell, he brought down a carved wooden box from the attic, filled with share certificates inherited from his aunt. Although these shares had been long forgotten and deemed worthless, after some research they turned out to be worth several years of frugal living expenses.

Embracing Resourcefulness

This discovery was a turning point. I immediately set to work learning how the stockmarket worked and how to trade shares and to be able to tell when was a good time to buy or sell, or a bad time.  By selling slowly and carefully, the proceeds from a couple of the investments got us through the next year, while my husband was looking for work and I was looking after our toddler and second baby.

Similarly, when Bitcoin came along and I was considering if now was a good time to buy (back in very early 2017), because of my charting skills I was able to confidently buy at $786 per Bitcoin and ride the bull market up to $20,000.  

Although I was not able to time the very top of the market (who can?), I knew enough to be get some profits out as close to the top as possible and then retain much of the value I’d accumulated.

I was then able to repeat that feat, the next two times Bitcoin dropped to $3000 over the next few years.

That little wooden box taught us to be resourceful, to always look for hidden assets and to reevaluate what we consider valuable. Here are five tips to help you uncover and maximize hidden opportunities:

  1. Inventory Your Assets: Regularly review your physical and intellectual assets. You might find something you’ve overlooked that holds significant value.
  2. Stay Informed: Keep up with market trends and changes. What might seem insignificant today could become valuable tomorrow.
  3. Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask questions about old possessions or forgotten investments. Their value might surprise you.
  4. Leverage Knowledge: Educate yourself about various investment opportunities. The more you know, the better you can assess potential assets.
  5. Be Open to Change: Sometimes, what you need isn’t a new asset but a new perspective on existing ones. Stay flexible and open-minded.

Learning and Growing

Following our discovery, I dived straight into learning about share investment and trading. This was not just about immediate financial relief but about expanding our financial knowledge and skills.

Recommended Reading

  1. "The Zulu Principle: Making Extraordinary Profits from Ordinary Shares” by Jim Slater.
  2. "The Armchair Investor: A Do-it-yourself Guide for Amateur Investors” by Bernice Cohen
  3. "The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking” by Saifedean Ammous


The story of the wooden box teaches us that opportunities are everywhere; we just need to be willing to look and then to see them. By staying resourceful and continuously learning, you can uncover hidden treasures in your own life and business. Keep your eyes open and be prepared to seize unexpected opportunities.

This post was inspired by one of the 25 lessons in my new book 'A Better Entrepreneur'

Photo courtesy of Photodune.


armchair investor, bernice cohen, finding treasure, flexible mindset, hidden assets, jim slater, zulu principle

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