Movement Unedited
Episode 24

Failure and Perspective: Learnings from Isla Viveros, Panama

Alyse Speyer published on

There's an island in Panama called Isla Viveros that is basically uninhabited. There are only about eight houses and a beach clube. The whole island has zero infrastructure. It might as well be deserted. And yet, here exists a handful of what used to be multi-million dollar homes that are now rendered worthless - at least from a selling perspective.

That's the keyword here: perspective. It's all a matter of how you look at it. The people who have homes there really have the dream vacation area - a private island to themselves. Albeit, they have to bring everything with them when they go - from gasoline to food to other basic items. So why are these houses here?

There's so much we hear about failiure and success in life and in business and yet there are these loose corners in history that go unnoticed - Isla Viveros is a perfect example of this. It began as a beautiful vision to turn the island into a resort area that would rival Isla Contadora, the famed tourist destination for wealthy expats. There was a whole plan in place and yet the entrepreneur who began the endeavour sank millions into the project and then left it high and dry. According to the home owners there, he doesn't want anyone else to continue the project or build on the land. Therefore, the project was left unfinished, save a few gorgeous homes from the early adopters.

We can learn so much from stories like these as it brings into perspective what it means to be a visionary and the lives that we impact whether or not that vision becomes realized. In this fast-paced world, we can feel like we're not seeing the progress that we want to see. As the saying goes, it takes 10-20 years to be an overnight success.

Looking at history allows us to put certain things in perspective. For example, how come in the late 1800s Panama was able to effectively erradicate Yellow Fever when modern countries today cannot do so? Take the Panama Canal, for example. The project failed several times costing millions of dollars, which is trillions in today's time, and thousands of lives until it was finally finished and opened in 1914. What most don't know is that the first idea for the canal was in the 1500s. That's a full 400 years before that idea turned into a reality.

Coming back to Isla Viveros and the people who live there, it's quite possible that in only another ten or even 15 years, something else will transpire and construction could begin again. Nevertheless, how you look at your decisions and life today is all that really matters. There's hope and faith, but they will only take you so far, and sometimes, all we can do is wait and simply be who we want to be in that process.

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