Do you remember as a child walking down the street and finding a penny? You probably exclaimed, “Wow! My lucky day!” Or maybe the phone rings and it’s a friend calling with an extra ticket to the game or concert — another lucky opportunity! Opportunity is defined as an appropriate or favorable time for advancement or success. Or maybe in your business, you learn that a competitor has unexpectedly changed their business strategy which leaves a market segment opening for you. What will you do?
In all of these situations, circumstances – or luck – presented itself as an opportunity. The circumstances are not something you can control. Praying for pennies on the street or fantasizing about phone calls from generous friends or hoping for competitors to abandon a market segment are not useful energies. Praying and fantasizing and hoping are fine, but they do not predictably lead to advancement or success. A response or action to the opportunity is required to realize success. So what do you do when opportunities land in your lap or at your feet?
When you were a child, you had to reach down and pick up the penny to enrich yourself. When your friend offered the ticket, you had to say, “Yes” and actually go to the game or concert. When a competitor leaves an opening, you have to move fast before some new competitor sees the opportunity and jumps into the opening. In all cases, success requires action to respond to an opportunity. In your life, do you take opportunities when they appear or do you allow them to pass you by?
In a macro view, the American Dream can be described as an opportunity. America has been viewed as a land in which a person’s prospects in life are defined by one’s talents and energy, rather than by one’s family wealth or political connections. Simply stated, if one works hard and does the right thing, then good things can and often do happen.
In a micro view, the story of Forrest Gump is certainly one of opportunity. At the beginning of the movie Forrest Gump, a feather floats down from the sky and ultimately lands at the foot of Forrest. Imagine the feather as an opportunity. What does Forrest do? He reaches down and picks it up! What do you do when opportunities land at your feet? Do you pick them up? And what do you do during turbulent times when the feathers stop landing at your feet? Do you get up off your buttocks and chase them down?
I believe that opportunities are constantly swirling all around us. Sometimes they land in our lap or at our feet, but most often they need to be chased down. The most important thing is to understand that success will only be realized when an action is taken in response to the opportunity. An unknown author said, “Opportunities are never lost; someone will take the one you miss.”
I believe the American Dream is alive and well! We live in a land of opportunity where anyone willing to take action and take advantage of the opportunities will be greatly rewarded. I believe this in spite of the trying and uncertain times we currently find ourselves in. The opportunities are there for those willing to see and take them! Do you share that dream?
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Next Blog Date: Thursday, December 10, 2010