Life is filled with opportunities. Some come knocking loudly at your door and a few come gently whispering, but generally they come expecting an effort from us that we hadn’t envisioned in our daydreams about success or change. Like the old Thomas Edison quote: “Most people miss opportunity because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas Jefferson might have added to that: “I find the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”
In truth, opportunities are around us all the time, we just have to stay alert for them and go after them when they come our way. A part of the art of seizing life’s opportunities lies in keeping a positive and watchful attitude that opportunities will develop and come versus holding a negative mindset that nothing good will ever come our way, Bad attitudes almost always cause us to miss the good things in life even when they come knocking on our door. I know I missed a lot of opportunities when younger because I didn’t recognize them for what they were, because of my youth, inexperience, and lack of self-confidence, and because of others’ perceptions and beliefs about me. I often listened to unwise and uninformed counsel and put off or missed opportunities I should have followed. I’m sure we have all done that at one time or another. But we should never give up looking for and being open for new opportunities despite our past. As Napoleon Hill said: “Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.” So stay alert and stay expectant.
Over my lifetime, I’ve learned to go seeking out opportunities more than waiting for them to drop out of the sky for me. I’ve also leaned to create my own opportunities rather than waiting for them to knock on my door at all. Usually when I simply waited before, nothing arrived at my door. So one of my favorite quotes now is: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door” [Milton Berle]. If you find yourself hungry for more opportunities in your life, eager for more, then begin to work at building little opportunities that will lead to bigger ones. What do you want and yearn for? Read about it. Learn about it. Find ways to wade in and participate in it. Get better at it than you are. Keep improving. And most important, don’t give up. Keep the vision and dream in your heart. Walt Disney said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” No one becomes successful without work and sacrifice. “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary” [Vidal Sassoon].
Life is about growth and change and about continuing to learn and wanting to move forward and climb higher. We are all created for much more excellence than we pursue. Too often we set our goals too low. We settle where we are. We get caught in the web of our daily habits and like a spider on a spider web, we stay right there waiting for good things to fly into our net. Habit is a very strong thing. We get into a life habit, find friends with similar habits, and get locked into thinking that is all life holds for us. So many motivational quotes nail this mindset that often limits us, but as Arthur Ashe wrote: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
If you are feeling a little discouraged with your life, always remember that life has its seasons. Often we cannot do and accomplish everything we want to do in exactly the season we hope to. I like Carl Bard’s words: “Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” If the season you’re in doesn’t allow you to pursue fully the direction you most want and dream of, then keep pursuing your higher goals and dreams in as many ways as you can on the sidelines. Don’t decide that if you can’t “have it all” you’ll just feel sorry for yourself and settle for “nothing.”
When I taught a variety of psychology courses in my professor years, we often looked at different writers and researchers who had studied the stages of life. I always liked Gail Sheehy’s colorful terms like “the tryout twenties,” “turbulent thirties,” “flourishing forties,” “flaming fifties,” “serene sixties,” “sage seventies,” “uninhibited eighties,” “noble nineties,” and “celebratory centurions.” I loved the concepts I taught that in all our life stages and seasons there are new and different possibilities, new opportunities to try on. It is never too late for second chances and new beginnings. As we grow, learn, mature, and change we strengthen in wisdom, talents, skills, areas of expertise, and good common sense. Life doesn’t diminish us; it just widens for us if we will see that. And it is never too late to try on new roles, to find new fulfilling interests and hobbies, to venture into new works, and to do worthwhile things.
Our goal as we move through life should never be to just retire one day, sit back, and do nothing. This would be a waste of our one beautiful and precious life. As I travel, work, and speak as an author I always encourage a useful, generative life. Our life should continue to be full and alive not stagnant and stale. All research has shown an active, generative life is the best and healthiest lifestyle to follow. We should always strive to live to our fullest ability, to give back to this world in all the ways we can. To live a clean, good life for a clean legacy. How do you want to be remembered? I want to be remembered as one who gave all she had every day of my life … of my gifts, wisdom, talents, and time. I always believe each day I’m accountable for how I use the gifts and hours of every day, of whether I’ve used the talents God has given me wisely and well. Erma Bombeck’s words could be my own mantra: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything You gave me.’”
Your motivations may be different than mine, but I want to encourage you to sit down and think about your life, the good you’ve accomplished, but also what else there might be for you to do. Never think of life as finished. Always be eager and open to new life opportunities, for new ways to use your talents and time. Frankly, you also have to decide what you’re willing to give up to create more opportunities for yourself and for more opportunities to come your way. Everyone has the same twenty-four hours in every day. How are you using your time? What can you change about how you use the hours in every day? Sometimes it’s time, as Zig Ziglar used to say, to do “a checkup from the neck up” and maybe an all over physical check, as well. Poor physical shape, excess weight, and a sloppy appearance can often limit your opportunities to make the changes in life you want to, no matter how you pretend they won’t. So can poor time management habits and addictions in your life, which can even include the hours and hours of television or social media you engage in that waste great portions of your life daily and sap your mental and creative energy. Are you willing to put the discipline into your life to change? Some people will and some won’t.
Opportunity may be knocking on your door right now, but will you answer the door? If you let opportunity in, it will arrive with a huge list of “expectations” for you. It will arrive with a long list of “to dos” that will mean a lot of work and effort, dedication and love, on your part to see the opportunities develop, grow, and come to fullness. Do you feel a little fearful and apprehensive even thinking about it? So does everyone before making life changes, before moving and growing in their lives, before pushing themselves out of their comfort zones and familiar routines to move forward. A Bible scripture says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him” [Rev 3:20]. This passage is talking about an opportunity, a leap of faith that is hard for many to make, too, because it’s a giving over of oneself. I think every life opportunity has a similar moment when it knocks and you decide if you will answer. These can be life-changing moments. So stir up your heart and mind to seek, look for, and welcome new opportunities for change. What are you yearning to do? What is your heart calling you to? “True change begins with the heart and then is nurtured by the mind. You have to yearn for it before you can acquire it.” [Sam Villanueva]
I believe all people say, if only to themselves, that they yearn for new opportunities in their lives, ways to make a difference, ways to make a mark on the world. We all do, deep within, We were each created with a destiny. Jane Goodall wrote: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” You may not feel significant or important, but you make a difference every day in your life. And perhaps you could make more difference. Sometimes the reason we make “little difference” is because we don’t make the effort to reach out and accomplish the things we should. Here’s an important thought to tuck in your heart today: Before you were born, God gave you a purpose. Jeremiah 1: 5 says ‘before I formed you in the womb I knew you” and another version adds “I set you apart for a special work and purpose.”
As the trees and flowers awake from their sleep of winter to welcome spring, let’s shake ourselves and wake up, too … to “bloom more where we’re planted” … to find things we can do to make a difference in our world, to live a life doing and accomplishing things of worth and value. Mary Oliver wrote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” I ask you that today, too … as does the Lord. Remember, you can’t get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.
Today is your opportunity to build the tomorrow you want. So, make your life matter. Seek and create new opportunities for your life. God has designed you for His purposes and there is so much you can do. You are unique and individually made. There is no other like you, and no one can do the things God intends for you to do in exactly the same way that only you can do them. Be encouraged today. As Mr. Rodgers used to sing: “You are a very special person. There is only one like you in the whole world.”
See you next month …
Note: All photos my own, from royalty free sites, or used only as a part of my author repurposed storyboards shown only for educational and illustrative purposes, acc to the Fair Use Copyright law, Section 107 of the Copyright Act
4 thoughts on “MARCH 2023 – Life Is Full Of Opportunities”
pre ordered both new books from Amazon
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Hope you love both the new titles!! And if you do, I’d love it if you put a few nice words on amazon. It makes other readers want to get the books, too!
Thank you so much from my heart for this outstanding motivational piece. I needed this and I know others who need it – right now! ❤️❤️❤️
Glad it blessed you Janet …