How many times do we tell ourselves or someone else that we are just waiting for that one big opportunity to come: after that, the sky is the limit. We stop for a brief moment to let the idea sink in. It gives us a temporary rush to think about the great things that could possibly result when opportunity finally decides to knock on our doors. Once the moment comes to pass, we come to terms with the grim reality that the actual probability of opportunity actually knocking is very slim at best. Going back to what I have said prior to today, we learn to accept what we have, and come to believe that there is not much more to look forward to once you reach a certain point.
How often do you see people out there who have decided to put their lives on hold for whatever reasons? For many, the reason could be that they decided to have kids rather than establish themselves first. Other people decide that they are not cut out for school, so they drop out and pursue some form of blue collar work, or low paying office jobs, etc. The constant here is that people in this position feel like they have placed their future on hold for the time being, when in reality many of these people are sealing their fate. Little do they know there is always something out there: an opportunity waiting to be had.
I remember being laid off from my previous job 3 months before my daughter was born. My girlfriend was pretty worried to say the least. We were in the process of buying a house, but all that fell through when I lost my job. She kept telling me to take whatever job I could get to at least hold us over. Part of what I said had to do with my stubbornness, but there was more to it: I told her that I would not go to work for less than I earned with my previous employer. Three months went by, and still no responses or interview requests from prospective employers came my way. My daughter was due to be born any week now, and my girlfriend was completely frantic because our money was pretty low, and she was the only one bringing in any kind of income. Then, out of nowhere, I got the call I was waiting for while we were shopping for baby clothes at Target. Two days later, I had an interview, and one week later I was in my new job. My daughter was born three days after I started working with my present employer.
There was a reason I didn't just take any job I could. I knew if I got too involved with a job I didn't want, it was very possible the opportunity I was waiting for would have passed me by. Whereas I was able to answer my phone at 3 in the afternoon that day, that may have not been the case if I was working at another job. That means someone else could have easily been contacted, and there would have gone my opportunity. This is not to say that my position is considered an opportunity of a lifetime for me, but it was definitely an opportunity to move in a better direction.
Let's look at it a little differently now. If I was approached tomorrow by someone with the opportunity to work in a different career field with a significantly higher income potential, chances are there won't be any second thoughts. Conversely, considering that I am comfortable with the position I am in, it is also just as likely that organization could attempt to contact me with that same opportunity and I would just ignore it. Well, in that case, I just let a great opportunity pass me by and someone else will have the chance to capitalize off it. In my opinion, this is an example of settling for what I have: being content and not desiring that move forward.
For those of you who fall into the younger reading crowd, here is a little bit of wisdom from someone who is not too much older, but knows enough to say it: opportunity will only knock so many times. There will come a time when opportunity will just leave you a note, letting you know it stopped by, but you apparently weren't available enough to hear its pitch. Here's another little point to consider: just because you may be presented an opportunity, don't mistake that for something being handed to you on a silver platter. An opportunity is an open door, you still have to walk through the opening. In other words: you still have to work to get what you want. I am going to elaborate some on this next and final point which applies to all ages: just because opportunity stops knocking, it doesn't mean that it is gone for good.
Let's take a moment and think about that last statement. I have caught myself settling for things I know I can get rather than look at the possibility of achieving much greater feats. I found myself sitting down and waiting for things to be handed to me (proverbially speaking) on a silver platter. I was operating with the mentality that if things are meant to happen, they will over time. The reality is that sitting and waiting may work for a lucky few, but standing up and pursuing can only increase the chances of actually getting to wherever it is you want to end up. The same thing applies when it comes to opportunities. For a while, opportunity may look for you: eventually, however, the roles will be reversed and you will have to look for opportunity. So many people are willing to just give up at that point because they feel there is no point in pursuing something that is so hard to find. How do you know it's that difficult if you are not making even a remote effort to look for it?
In the end: if opportunity knocks, answer the damn door! If you don't, that doesn't mean that it will be impossible to find opportunities going forward: it will just be more challenging. Take the challenge head on, and you at least guarantee yourself a chance to move in a positive direction. Do nothing, and you guarantee yourself a lifetime of mediocrity. To some, that is more than satisfactory, and that is absolutely fine. More power to them. To others, it is the ultimate failure knowing that you are capable of so much more, but decided to never pursue it. I ignored the knocking on many occasions in the past, so I am doing things the hard way. That said, I am enjoying the thrill of the chase. Opportunity: you can run, but you can't hide.