We may walk down the same path every day but never see something new. Then one day we are on the path and suddenly something leaps out at us that we’ve never noticed before. It could be a special flower growing along the walkway, a sapling that has been slowly growing out of the earth and has suddenly shot up to waist level or a bird nesting in a tree.
This analogy about a well-trodden path and being observant is very much how we go about our day-to-day life not noticing new things, change or trends. Unless we keep our eyes open often we don’t see things even though they are staring us right in the face.
What blocks our vision? It could be an outdated belief system. Or simply our attitude. We may be so wrapped up in our own world that we don’t notice the abundance and opportunities around us.
When I was growing up my father had a friend who was a pilot. When the pilot got to certain age where he couldn’t fly anymore he battled to find work opportunities. Eventually he landed up working on a giant fishing ship in Mauritania. He hated being there and couldn’t wait until he got back home. It was strange that he was never able to see any opportunities where he lived and had to go and work thousands of kilometres away from home to earn a meagre living.
A person I met the other day used to work in a large supermarket chain where he was responsible for the cheese section. His parents became ill and he had to move to another city. This meant he had to give up his job at the supermarket chain. He quickly spotted an opportunity to open a cheesemaking business and has never looked back. When I asked him, “But isn’t this cheese making process difficult?”, he said “No, not at all. It’s easy to do.”
Often we shut out opportunities from our lives through self-limiting beliefs or simply just fail to recognise the opportunities in our own backyard. The cheesemaker found himself in a new suburb of a different city and was able to see the potential for a small hand-craft cheesemaking operation that eluded many others. How come no one else saw the opportunity?
If you have not developed your ability to see opportunities, then it’s going to be difficult for you to see things with fresh eyes. An opportunity-conscious person tends to be on the alert for new ways to serve people through products and services. They pay close attention to the problems they see others experiencing with existing products or services and try to think of better solutions. They also possess the determination to continue even if their first few ideas fail. Not every idea is going to succeed. It may take 10 or 20 or even 100 ideas before you find one that’s going to be a winner.
In this economy when things are generally depressed and people are negative, such thinking may dampen your spirits and prevent you from seeing the opportunities around you. Yes, it would be great if you could switch off the radio and television and never open a newspaper but the reality is that you can’t live like an ostrich. You’ve got to know at least something about what;s going on around you. But the point is to not let negative sentiments bring you down and dull your ability to recognise opportunities.
Once you start to see possibilities where ever you are, under whatever circumstances, it’s like a muscle that just keeps growing and growing. You will become more attuned to seeing possibilities in everything around you. Samuel Johnson said, “To improve the golden moment of opportunity, and catch the good that is within our reach, is the great part of life.”
When you kickstart your unconscious to look for opportunities, don’t be surprised when you start seeing things that other people have overlooked or get sudden impulses to investigate areas that have new interest for you. Your golden moment of opportunity could be just within your reach.