One of my favorite stories as a kid was “Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby” … if you've never read the story, the main character, Br'er Rabbit is threatened by his arch-nemesis, Br'er Fox.
Br'er Fox sets a trap for Br'er Rabbit and captures him. Br'er Fox wonders, out loud what he should do with Br'er Rabbit.
Br'er Rabbit says to his captor that he can do anything he wants to him if he promises not to throw him in the Briar Patch.
“Drown me! Roast me! Hang me! Do whatever you please,” said Br'er Rabbit. “Only please, Br'er Fox, please don't throw me into the briar patch.”
Of course, Br'er Fox looks at the Briar Patch as an inhospitable place where Br'er Rabbit would instantly die.
“The briar patch, eh?” said Br'er Fox. “What a wonderful idea! You'll be torn into little pieces!”
So, of course, Br'er Fox throws Br'er Rabbit into the Briar Patch. But instead of hearing the agonizing screams of death, Br'er Fox only hears silence. Then a moment later he sees Br'er Rabbit behind him:
“I was bred and born in the briar patch, Br'er Fox,” he called. “Born and bred in the briar patch.”
Of course, Br'er Fox then leaves for his home … unwilling to go into the Briar Patch to re-capture Br'er Rabbit.
The Best Niches are Briar Patches
In this story, Br'er Rabbit was an expert at surviving in the Briar Patch … he was happy in a place that most other animals were either afraid or unwilling to enter. He must have known how to avoid being hurt by the sharp briars, to find food, water & shelter — and thrive.
To be highly successful, you need your own Briar Patch … a skill or niche that most others instantly dismiss as “too mundane,” “too technical” (I hear this one a lot) or just plain “too hard.”
Briar Patch niches usually pay more money and have less competition because others either dismiss them or have no desire to enter them themselves.
So, the next time you need to decide on a new niche to enter or skill to learn, remember Br'er Rabbit and don't be afraid of becoming happy in your own Briar Patch.
Shawn Orcott says
I think this article should end with a picture of you sliding down Splash Mountain. Just sayin’ 🙂
I used to be a door-to-door salesman and would always hunt for a good Briar Patch to knock in. The run-down (less appealing) neighborhoods always produced more sales because they hadn’t been attacked by every other sales rep. It’s definitely a good thing to remember.
Blair Williams says
I actually have a picture like that somewhere … screaming my guts out while my daughter looks almost bored.
That’s really interesting about finding the best neighborhoods to knock. For my industry … that would be like taking up Cobol programming — which from what I understand is becoming a very lucrative niche these days …
Hmmm, now to figure out what my briar patch is. Nice article.
Blair Williams says
Knowing you Kevin, I think you should start alliance between the top super-villains of the world … you could call it K.E.V.I.N. or something? Then your briar patch can be a super-sophisticated underwater lair located at the bottom of the mariana trench. Word?