O is for Opportunities
Updated: Sep 5, 2022
“Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities; seize common occasions and make them great.” Orisen Swett Marden
When you wake up in the morning, know that the day is full of opportunities waiting for you. It is a new day, a new start; the first day of the rest of your life, so make it count.
“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” Charles R Swindoll
We all face problems that are opportunities for us to learn and to grow but often we fail to recognise them as such because our attention is too focused on the problem. We stress and worry about the potential consequences of a problem although they may never materialise and fail to recognise that the opportunity we are being presented with offers us unique challenges and opportunities for growth or patience, acceptance and reframing.
“Excuses will always be there for you. Opportunity won’t.” Anonymous
When people face challenges, the easiest option is to give up, but if you push through and face them head on with deliberate determination then you will learn and grow and maybe even succeed! Difficulties create opportunities:
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein
“When you go through life guided by your values, not only do you gain a sense of vitality and joyfulness, but you also experience that life can be rich, full, and meaningful, even when bad things happen”. Russ Harris
There is a close connection between one’s state of mind, courage and hope (or the lack of these) and the state of immunity of one’s body. When we lose hope and courage, it can have a serious effect on both our physical and our mental health and our ability to recognise the opportunities before us, therefore it is essential that we guard hope and a belief in the future by reflecting on our values and making goals.
Goals give our life a sense of direction; they put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level but values guide us as to what those goals should be and temper how we should work to achieve them.
“We go through life following the same routine, day after day. But in order to create a rich, full, and meaningful life, we need to stop to reflect on what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.” Russ Harris
Once we have clarified our goals, we can then look for specific opportunities to embrace, that will move us closer to these considered goals rather than snatching at everything in an arbitrary, panicked manner often exhausting ourselves in the process as we have no real direction.
“The secret of success is to be ready when your opportunity comes.” Benjamin Disraeli
We can all encounter numerous opportunities when we have the right mindset and put in the work to step into the right place at the right time. Being able to make the best of opportunities that present themselves to us is dependent on the preparation that we do mentally and practically. We need to make sure that we acquire the knowledge, tools, skills and support as well as being healthy, physically and mentally, to have the physical and mental stamina to step out of our comfort zones into new areas. If we react or act without due consideration we often grasp at straws aimlessly and either don’t discern which are the relevant opportunities and it can result in a scenario worsening, which in turn leads to a further downward spiral.
“Expect change. Analyse the landscape. Take the opportunities. Stop being the chess piece; become the player. It’s your move.” Tony Robbins
We need to cultivate a sense of purpose and keep the ‘bigger picture’ in mind particularly when overwhelmed with different choices. We shouldn’t allow our goals to be so fixed however that we can’t adapt and change our course should the need or opportunity arise.
Interacting with people is crucial to encountering opportunities leading rise to the old adage “It’s not what you know it is who you know”. Not only can others give us new perspectives and insights as they can have relevant understanding and can share similar experiences but they can also provide us with encouragement, and give us hope and confidence to move forward at our own pace and according to our own needs and specific situation.
“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.” Ann Landers
Difficulties are inherent in our daily lives. We should not try to resist or avoid them, we should embrace them and look for the opportunity within them and create our own opportunities.
“Don’t wait for the right opportunity: create it.” George Bernard Shaw
Opportunities require work not excuses. Sometimes it is not about spotting opportunities but ‘creating’ them.
“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds”. Francis Bacon
When we question why things happen or what we can learn from it, then that helps us to develop a growth mindset. Everyone has a fixed mindset sometimes, but when we find ourselves stuck we need to challenge ourselves to re-frame our thoughts. E.g. ‘What if you fail? You’ll be a failure’ versus ‘What if I succeed?’.
“If you believe it will work out you will see opportunities if you believe it won’t you’ll see obstacles.” Wayne Dyer
Our mindsets exist on a continuum from ‘fixed’ to ‘growth’ therefore we can ever only be stationary at a point or actively on a journey to a growth mindset. To be on the journey, we need to recognize restrictive thought patterns in ourselves and then reflect on strategies to improve and move forward. The question is therefore not whether or not change and progress is possible, but how.
“Believe you can and you're halfway there.” Theodore Roosevelt
Beliefs are self fulfilling prophecies and shape our reality and therefore our eventual achievements (or lack of them). Opportunities surround you, when you begin to recognize opportunities, they build momentum and will make you more proactive at seeking out more opportunities for yourself and others.
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.” Richard Branson
Opportunities require your confidence not fear; they favour the bold!
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”. Bertram Carr 1919
Do you know how many opportunities we miss because they occur at an ‘inconvenient’ moment? An opportunity doesn’t always appear when you consider that you are ready, instead it will usually come when you need it the most and not in the form that you might expect, so be open-minded, prepared and always ready to embrace what life has to offer.
Our challenge is to be present each and every day with the time we have and use it effectively and optimally at that particular moment. Kairos is concerned with the notion of seizing the appropriate time to do something which will affect our future. There is a time and place for everything and we shouldn’t attempt to force what’s not yet suppose to fit into our lives. As we go through life we begin to appreciate that there is a better or an optimum time for the many and varied activities and experiences in our lives. It is no use trying to force an opportunity at the wrong time as it is not likely to turn out as expected or have the desired effect and we might miss out on other time-sensitive opportunities.
“We do not get unlimited chances to have the things we want. Nothing is worse than missing an opportunity that could have changed your life.” Anonymous
Finally always end the day with a positive thought, no matter how hard things were today because tomorrow is an opportunity to have a fresh start.
“Opportunity is everywhere. The key is to develop the vision to see it.”
Some questions to think about/or discuss below:
What opportunities have you missed in your life and why?
Are you in danger of making a similar choice and consequence now?
What are your values?
What can you do practically to create more opportunities for yourself?
If you want to reflect more on this subject, here are some links to get you started: