The Art of Seeing What Isn’t There

{By Austin Griesinger}

My grandfather is an interesting man. He was a millionaire before he turned 30.

the art of seeing what isn't there

I’ve been working for him for the last 6 months. He’s spent his life doing just a little bit of everything. Everything from working for his father’s roofing company when he was very young to owning his own used-furniture store (twice). He’s run a realtor firm and now owns a hotel. We just began a venture to start a tourism program in Gonzales Texas where he is also the Chair of the Republican Party. So, yeah. He’s done some stuff.

In the last 6 months I’ve tried to glean as much knowledge and information from him as I can. Throughout his life he has made and lost several fortunes.

While I love learning lessons in business from him, that hasn’t been the most impactful thing he has taught me. Learning how to make money, how to make allies politically, and how to make a name in a small town are just a few of the great things he’s taught me. That said, the one thing that really sticks out is a principal that I began to take in subconsciously that he later affirmed for me.

One industry my Grandpa is currently in is that of “real estate.” I put that in quotes because what we are actually doing is not what most people think of when they hear the words “real estate.” He has owned different warehouses and other various types of properties for many years and is constantly finding ways to make a profit off them. Either by remodeling and then selling them, renting them out “as-is”, or just letting them sit until the property value goes up.

One such project is a house that a friend of his sold to him. We are in the process of remodeling and then selling the house at a nice profit (hopefully. Fingers crossed. Pray for me.) It’s during the early stages of this process that he has taught me this valuable lesson.

The lesson of not just seeing what something is, but seeing what it can be.

The fact is the majority of people only see what is. They see their surroundings in black and white or in 2 dimensions.

Learning to “see what it can be” comes naturally to some but for most of us it has to be learned.

When he taught me this principal of seeing what can be instead of just what is, he was teaching me about old houses and how to buy cheap and sell high. While that’s a fantastic lesson to learn it’s not the ultimate lesson to be learned.

Being able to apply this principal to others is the most valuable lesson.

When it comes to other people there are two popular trains of thought.
1) You make judgements about people.
2) You don’t make judgements about people.

This is a tricky subject. Making a judgement about someone isn’t wrong! The actions we take after making those judgment are what may be wrong, even if its just in our thoughts. Every second of everyday you are making judgments about little things like how good a restaurant is or how smart a cashier is. We do it all the time subconsciously. What really matters is what we do with those judgments.

So if you don’t buy into the second train of thought which is, “all judging is wrong,” then you’re left with the second option which is making judgements about people and things. The secret is to take that first option and add on this principal of not just seeing the as-is but the can-be. On of  the greatest displays of love is to help someone become the person they dream of being. To take them from their “as-is” and push them to their “can-be” and to eventually help them see it as a “will-be.”

Society will tell you that you simply have to just accept people where they are. Don’t try to change anyone, or you’re intolerant.

As Christians its our job to spread the good news, and sometimes that good news involves breaking the bad news to people who are in sin. We have the responsibility of seeing others who are in their “as-is” and helping them towards their “can-be.” We also have to realize that the only way to make it to the end of that road is with the help of the “I Am.”


  1. I prayed for you about the house you’re remodeling/selling. I believe in the power of prayer and since you asked, I made sure to pray. I hope it works out and may God bless you and your family in a special way. Thanks for sharing this article!

  2. Just got around to reading this. Austin is my great-nephew. I am very proud of him for many reasons but most of all because he is a committed disciple of Christ! Love you, Austin!

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