Even With So Little, One Can Still Be Grateful

I read this story in a newsletter I receive from Early To Rise (the link is no longer available) – this is a great story because it demonstrates that someone can still be grateful for so little.

“Desperate to escape her hand-to-mouth existence in one of the poorest regions of Brazil, Maria Benedita Sousa used a small loan five years ago to buy two sewing machines and start her own business making women’s underwear,” The New York Times reported.

Today, her business is thriving. She employs 25 people and produces 55,000 pairs of cotton panties a month. With the income she’s earning, she has bought and renovated a house for her family and a car. Her daughter, who is studying nursing, will be the first family member to finish college.

Sousa is living the entrepreneurial dream. “You can’t imagine the happiness I am feeling,” she said. “I am someone who came from the countryside to the city. I battled and battled and today my children are studying with one in college and two others already in school. It was a gift from God.”

A gift from God? I don’t know about that. But I do know that it was partly due to a loan she got from a private bank — that and her gumption, her persistence, and her instinct to start a business she already understood. We’ve talked about that many times in ETR. I’ve written about it in almost every one of my books.

If you want to have the best possible chance of making your new business work, learn about it from the inside before you start. Sousa did exactly that. Before creating her own clothing business, she worked for minimum wage sewing clothes for someone else’s clothing business.

By the way, Sousa doesn’t begrudge the years she worked for a dollar an hour. She was happy to get the work when she had none, happy to earn the money so she could help pay the family’s bills and — most important
— she is grateful she had the chance to acquire the skills she uses today to run her business.


  1. Roger Loh on June 9, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Thanks for sharing this awesome story. I believe that everything happens for a reason and when we are going through some rough patch, we simply need to soldier on till everything becomes clear one day. Inspiring.

  2. Paul on June 12, 2010 at 11:37 am

    @Roger Loh
    I completely agree, Roger! Everything becomes clear when we are ready to learn from it. Just like the saying, “The teacher will appear when the student is ready.”

Leave a Comment