There is opportunity everywhere for anyone that knows where to look. But, it requires overcoming a downstream mentality. Generally, people see only the downstream opportunities because that’s where they look. Downstream destinations appear easier to reach. The reality is that most of the best opportunities lie upstream. Paddling upstream might seem to be the harder route when in actuality it can be the easier route. Why? Because most people point their boats downstream. Consequently, there’s less traffic upstream. It’s much easier to compete when the majority has gone in the opposite direction.
“The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” — Sam Ewing
“The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes.” — John Ruskin (1819 – 1900)
“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” — Peter Drucker
“Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you’re not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were.” — David Rockefeller
There is also opportunity galore for those with a hurdler’s mindset. Hurdlers excel by becoming proficient at leaping over barriers. They don’t stop at the hurdles and they don’t turn back. They don’t try to go around, under, or through the hurdles. They know the only way to win the race is to leap over hurdles as fast as possible. In fact, the high achievers don’t even break stride. Life is full of hurdles called sickness, layoff, high interest rates, a weak dollar, a strong dollar, a volatile stock market, high gas prices, a grumpy boss, a whiny neighbor, discrimination, lack of cooperation, an irate customer, a flat tire, a flooded basement, etc. Stuff happens to us all, even our pets.
“My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to 99 cents a can. That’s almost $7.00 in dog money.” — Joe Weinstein
Being a winner in the game of life requires forward momentum and getting over the hurdles quickly. Proficiency takes preparation. A practice regimen involves mastering the small hurdles. This helps make the larger hurdles seem less daunting. Confidence grows and suddenly life’s opportunities appear from the shadows of the conquered hurdles.
“The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.” — Harry Golden (1902 – 1981)
“Each handicap is like a hurdle in a steeplechase, and when you ride up to it, if you throw your heart over, the horse will go along, too.” — Lawrence Bixby
“People always call it luck when you’ve acted more sensibly than they have.” — Anne Tyler (1941 – ), Celestial Navigation
“Luck is what you have left over after you give 100 percent.” — Langston Coleman
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” — Booker T. Washington (1856 – 1915)
Whenever confronted by one of life’s hurdles, we must “get over it” to finish the race. There’s one more very important thing. It’s not against the rules to help someone else over a life hurdle. In fact, it’s a responsibility.