What the Hudson’s Bay Company taught me about life.

Hello everyone, I am currently reading “The Company of Adventurers” by Peter C. Newman. It’s a very detailed book about the Hudson’s Bay company and how the fur trade helped shape Canada as we know it.

One of the things that learned from this book is that it was a very long time before people really started settling and building homes in Rupert land (guess it goes to show how much the education system teaches students to remember just long enough to pass the test as opposed to teaching to remember). The Hudson’s Bay company didn’t want other people coming onto their property and potentially taking their business. They had a monopoly on trade and did everything in their power to maintain it. And I’m noticing several things in the way the company ran its business that say a lot about human nature.

 

  1. We’re scared of competition. We all want to live inside a perfect ideal, something that only we can do. It’s damaging to our ego if we recognize that there are others that are potentially better suited at doing our jobs. We not only want to fulfill our choice of dharma, but we also want to be the “ace in the hole” the person that can do our job better than anyone. This is one of the problems of human nature, we need to work together, we need to recognize that others can not only help us in our goals, but can sometimes do the things that we want to do better than we can. The Hudson’s Bay company didn’t reach it’s full potential until they merged with the North West Company, that’s when they started to gain more profits and started truly exploring the unsearched areas of Canada. Almost all of the most successful businesses today realize the power of cooperation. Two separate groups of people can do a lot when they work together, but when companies combine their efforts and have their audiences coincide then their profits almost always improve.

  2. We’re very comfortable with routine. The Hudson’s Bay company did nothing but stay on the Hudson’s Bay for the first 200 years of its operation. There was no need to explore because they were making enough money from the operations on the bay. But as human beings we need to guard ourselves against this kind of complacency. Nobody needs to do anything besides work to pay the bills and go home and eat food. But our soul needs variety, our soul needs vacation from the monotony of daily routine. No matter how comfortable our daily schedule is we will always get bored with it because we can’t do the same thing day in and day out. There was a time when I fell into the trap of working too hard and never having enough energy to do anything after work. I didn’t realise that I was unhappy because I wasn’t giving my soul enough variety. I only did what I had to do and never noticed anything was wrong until it was too late. It’s important to remember that our life is about more than just money and physical needs, our life can’t be run like a business where you only ever look after your bottom line. The Hudson’s Bay Company only built new forts when there was enough economic reason to, or for self defense. Which leads me to my third point.

  3. We’re scared of the unknown. One reason as to why the Hudson’s Bay company didn’t expand was because they were scared of what was beyond the bay. They believed that in the places north of the bay lived Native tribes that were savage and resorted to Cannibalism. This was a myth (according to Peter C. Newman) given to the fur traders by rival native tribes so those tribes could maintain their own monopoly on the trade with the white men. Nowadays everyone says it’s so hard to start a business, lots of people say that everyone hates their job, (it’s not true lots of people like their job regardless of how glorious it is) and we might be afraid to put out the artwork that we really love doing because others might not like it. But these are the kinds of voices that we shouldn’t listen to, whether they’re in our head or from other people saying them to us. We need confidence in ourselves, and self-determination to do the work that we know will make us happy. Managing a business is hard, but after awhile it becomes normal. Everyone may feel annoyed at their job every once in awhile but that doesn’t mean that it should be normal to hate your job day in and day out. And there are going to be some people that don't like the artwork that you make, but you don’t have to listen to them. It’s more likely that there are going to be more people that respect you for putting your best work into the world and trying your best. Even if you don’t succeed in every possible aspect who gives a crap? At least you tried your best. Life is a journey not a destination, and if we always stay inside our safe jobs and never explore other possibilities then we’ll only ever have the experience of being in that safe job. Be brave and don’t let others instill fear in you, it’s natural to be afraid of the unknown, but we can't let that fear dictate our only shot that we have at existence.