“During their lifetimes, every man and woman will stumble across a great opportunity. Sadly, most of them will simply pick themselves up, dust themselves down and carry on as if nothing ever happened.”
― Winston Churchill
Michael Jordan is considered as perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time. He won six championships with the Chicago Bulls and was a five-time most valuable player awardee. He’s been dubbed “His Airness” and is the yard stick for today’s crop of superstars like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant. His superior skills, numerous achievements and popular product endorsements made him an icon.
Despite his stature, did you know that MJ was only a third overall pick? One would expect him to be a number one pick but 80’s basketball was all about prized centers or big men and Jordan was a shooting guard at 6’6.
Can you imagine what the first two teams who didn’t draft him must have felt after he became “THE” Michael Jordan? They must have felt regret for passing on him. They can only imagine what Jordan might have brought to their team had they drafted him especially Portland who wasted the second pick on a big guy that turned out to be one of the NBA’s biggest busts. That’s definitely one giant opportunity they missed out on.
In life we all get presented with great opportunities too and just like Portland, we also, more often than not, let those opportunities slip through our fingers. It could be an opportunity to travel abroad, to work in a prestigious company, or marry someone only to let them become “the one that got away” and we do this for various reasons like fear, unwillingness to step out of our comfort zones, or poor decision-making.
It is said that opportunities only knock once that’s why when it presents itself, not only should we take it, we have to grab it and never let it go. Grabbing the opportunities we’re presented helps us live with less regret.
Make the most out of failure
Opportunities would sometimes come from a place we least expect and that is through failure. While most of us will view failure as a result, with the right mindset and a positive attitude, failure can become an opportunity for something bigger.
Pat Flynn worked for an architecture firm when he was laid off in 2008 as a result of the financial crisis. He decided to work from home by starting a blog and developing an eBook which he didn’t realize were his keys to success. The eBook would sell like pancakes and the blog would experience heavy traffic from thousands of visitors everyday and before he knew it, he was earning more than what he did back when he was working the 9 to 5.
Pat is now considered one of the leading bloggers/podcasters worldwide with a monthly earning of more than $70,000. In one of his interviews, he said that looking back, being laid off was the best thing that happened to him because he wouldn’t be where he is if that didn’t happen.
You’ll never know until you’ve tried
What is worse between having tried but failed and not having tried at all? Sometimes, our fear of failure gets the best of us that we unwillingly let opportunities just pass us by. Sometimes opportunities are already right in front of us but because of not wanting to experience failure and mistake, we don’t do anything until others reap the benefits of our inaction.
Julia Roberts gained popularity after starring as Vivian Ward in the blockbuster hit Pretty Woman but the part was originally offered to Brat pack member Molly Ringwald. Roberts would go on to have a successful movie career with several hits under her belt like Erin Brockovich and My Best Friend’s Wedding.
Ringwald, who some of you may not even know (especially those who belong to the current generation) has gone on to obscurity and last appeared in the ABC Family Network’s series The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
I wonder where both their careers would be had Ringwald accepted the role. Well, we’ll never really know would we?
Be a Go-getter
There are times when we need to be more aggressive instead of waiting for opportunities to fall in our laps. We have to be more proactive and go out of our way to get what we want and not just wait for life to happen. If failure can become an opportunity, more so with success.
I am amazed by the number of people who have gained popularity through social media. These are ordinary people who happen to capture something funny or highly interesting with the use of a mobile phone camera then shared it to the world via Facebook and Youtube.
The best and perhaps most famous example is Justine Bieber whose mom started posting videos of him, a small kid back then, singing covers of several R&B songs. We all know where he went after that. He just became a world-wide phenomenon with several hit songs to his credit and a movie about his life that also had a world-wide release.
Bieber and his family were just like any other regular family back then but with his mom’s persistence, opportunity presented itself. It didn’t find them but they found it.
Over to You
Not everyone is given the opportunities we get and it will be a shame if we waste these opportunities because of fear of the unknown and fear of failure. Sometimes taking risks is necessary for us to grow and be a better person than we were before.
In life, it’s not the things we’ve done that we regret more but the things we didn’t do. We will always be left with our “what ifs” and “would have beens” but the sad part is that we’ll never know the answers to these questions and we will always be left wondering.
Are you grabbing the opportunities that are coming your way?
I’d love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment below and share your ideas.
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