Always Look for Opportunity
Estimated Lesson Time: 4 minutes
How many green cars did you see the last time you were on the road? Chances are, green cars were all around you but you did not “see,” or at least did not notice, any. Why not? Because you were not looking for green cars. Opportunity is the same way. It is all around us, every day of our lives. Since most people are not looking for opportunity, they just don’t “see” it. The key is to find opportunity and do not wait for opportunity to find you.
Opportunity is defined as a favorable or advantageous circumstance or combination of circumstances. As expected, the definition is subjective. What is “favorable”? What is “advantageous”? Optimists see most situations as favorable or advantageous where pessimists rarely see themselves in favorable or advantageous situations. So who do you think will have more opportunity, the optimist or the pessimist?
Fortune and success are found in opportunity. One can go back through history and trace the beginning of any fortune or success and find that it was a result of acting on opportunity. The greater the opportunity, the greater the chance of success. One who seeks opportunity asks about every setback, “What good can come out of this?” The opportunity seeker capitalizes and excels where others remain stagnant.
To act on opportunity, you must be flexible, open-minded, motivated, and willing to take risks. You must choose which opportunities you will take action on while passing on less promising opportunities. As an active opportunity seeker, this will be your most difficult task since letting go of a good opportunity is not easy. You need to balance out your opportunities and be decisive on which ones you will pursue, which ones you will delegate, and which ones you will bypass.
Think creatively. The creative thinker sees opportunity where others do not. In 1904, an ice cream vendor named Charles Menches ran out of dishes while selling ice cream at a state fair. None of the other vendors would sell him any plates out of jealousy and greed, figuring they would get more business. Nearby was a stand where his friend was selling a Middle Eastern, crisp, wafer-like pastry treat called Zalabia. “Give me Zalabia!” cried Menches. He rolled up the Zalabia, scooped his ice cream on top, and the ice cream cone was born. This creative thinking allowed Charles Menches to see opportunity where most others would only see disaster—it also made him quite wealthy!
Here are a few suggestions on where you can find opportunity:
- Crises, problems, setbacks, and challenges. Very often, a step back is followed by two steps forward. It is these setbacks that allow us to grow by exposing us to opportunities that we just did not see before.
- Everywhere someone’s needs are not completely being met. Think about that. How many of us are actually having all of our needs met? I do not have exact numbers on this one, but I would guess a very small percentage. This means opportunity is everywhere. Be attentive to the needs of others. What do people want? How can you fill that need and act on that opportunity?
- Something new. When there is a new business in town, chances are there is opportunity for those seeking employment and those selling business-to-business products or services. When a company releases a new product or service, there are opportunities to market the product or service. Virtually anywhere something new is introduced, there is opportunity.
- The local newspaper. Local newspapers are filled with opportunities, and I am not just referring to the help wanted section. You can find many opportunities where others are selling businesses, real estate, and other assets.
Opportunity is all around us. It is constantly knocking, but most people aren’t listening. Finding opportunity is a learned skill that can be developed with practice. The key is to be looking for it.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)