With high unemployment and a sluggish economy, opportunity is a word on many people’s minds. Is it out there? How do you get it?
As much as we try, so little of what happens for us is due to our actions. Our fortunes are nothing more than the sum of our talent, timing and opportunities. Oprah Winfrey would disagree. In a recent interview with Simon Cowell she insisted that people make their opportunities. Oprah is wrong. (Oh yeah, I went there) Well, mostly wrong. That is in my opinion a lazy conclusion; a mistake many people make by looking at “success stories” and work backwards. The problem is that it discounts the nameless millions of people whom, with possibly even more talent, perseverance and hard work, have little to show for it. By definition, these individuals are anonymous. So we ignore them. Then we focus on that group of individuals whom had that rare combination of perfect timing and the right talent. But what’s worse about assuming that people are lacking success because of something they are not doing is that it places blame squarely on them.
So what do we do with this info? The first thing we need to stop is giving so much undeserved credibility to people who have amassed great wealth. I like Warren Buffet, I think he is good guy and I would even go so far as to say he is something of a role model based on his philanthropic endeavors and his ability to put his staggering wealth into perspective. I do not, however, think he has much to contribute to you and me in terms of advice on how to be a success. Mr. Buffet was successful because he possesses a specific set of skills that worked during a specific period of time. There is growing evidence in fact that those times have changed. The second thing might be to place less emphasis on our own chosen path. It’s great to have goals; actually it’s critical. But the older I get the more I can see there is no such thing as a chosen path. Like Yogi Berra said “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Life is a series of different options. After you take that path, only you can decide that it was the wrong decision. So… don’t. Be confident in your choices and do your best to live without regrets.
Many years ago, in another life, it seems, I worked in sales. The company I worked for sent me to many sales seminars during the time that I worked for them. One of these “Gurus” really had an impact on me (although not enough for me to remember his name). Much of his advice focused on staying positive. He said, “Folks, if I’m going down in flames I’m going’ down with a smile on my face”. His point being, that much of life is chance so chose to be happy. And why the heck not?
So don’t be concerned about that big break that you are still waiting for. A bad luck streak, like good luck, doesn’t last. Keep waiting, working, and doing your best but if the big “it” never happens that’s OK too.
By Stacy Hathaway