Identifying opportunity

I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one. Mark Twain

There is a PJ (Poor Joke) that goes as follows. Knock Knock and a voice from inside asks ‘ Who is that?’ ‘Opportunity ‘, comes the reply. The voice from inside responds ‘ Can’t be, for opportunity knocks only once’ ! While it is commonly believed that opportunity knocks only once, reality is that opportunity comes in various shades and sizes and each time it knocks we are unable to recognize it. Part of the reason is that we are not prepared for it and hence don’t look out for it and most times we fail to take that extra step that will reveal the real opportunity that is inconspicuously standing around.

We don’t have to look far to see our own folly. Every time anyone asks for volunteers it is an opportunity that is dangling in front of us to be grabbed but rarely do we make a lunge for it for fear of the responsibility that comes with the opportunity. In fact many a time we spurn such opportunity under the pretext that we are not suitable for the same or that there could be more talented people who can volunteer. No sooner someone volunteers we will be the first to criticize the volunteers contribution and find fault and almost convince ourselves that we could do a better job. Alas it is too late and the opportunity has passed by.

Many a time opportunity comes disguised as hard work, patiently having to wait, quick decision making, guts to invest in it or it could be failure first and success later. How can one discover opportunity if it is disguised in so many different garbs? The difference between a successful person and a not so successful person is in the fine art of being able to uncover the disguise in which opportunity roams around every moment. Opportunity gives us a chance to participate in the success process and so most times we need to think big, see far ahead and be always prepared to accept challenges and work very hard. Once our mental makeup has undergone this metamorphosis, finding opportunity is child’s play because we are deluged with them. Every change, each problem and all events are opportunities for us to learn from, grow with and or turn into a success story.

Perhaps the biggest single factor that blinds us to the wonderful opportunity staring us in the face is our risk averse nature. Just as there are no free lunches in the is world, there is never opportunity without an accompanying risk. What we fail to do is evaluate the risk, minimize it and yet have the guts to take chances when they come. We prefer to spurn the chance and be comfortable that our life is smooth sailing. Sometime missing out on opportunities is akin to us not taking an escalator for  we worry that the escalator will malfunction or the electric supply will be cut off or that we may feel nauseated in the escalator etc. and so we laboriously begin our physically ascend huffing and puffing and occasionally stopping to rest. If the escalator was taking us to a terminal to catch a flight and we spurn the offer and get late, the ramifications would be rather serious for we would have missed the flight. When we spurn opportunity we miss the chance to fly high and are left wondering why fate has been unkind to us. Now you know the answer; we have been unfair to fate who provides the opportunities that we have failed to grasp!

Remember: “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” Charles R. Swindoll

Try this:

  1. For 3 months every week take one lottery ticket and check the winnings. Have you at least recovered the initial investment? In any case unless you invest in the ticket you cannot hope to win the lottery.
  2. When you get a series of problems facing you approach each one as an opportunity to grow. Does this approach make it easier for you to tackle the problem?  Did the problem itself change or was it your attitude to the problem that helped you solve it without getting into a crisis? By successfully solving the problems did you get any form of reward?

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