Preparation – The Law of True Opportunities

Opportunities are Gifts

The Opportunity Clock
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True opportunities are the results of alignment with our internal gifts and the happenings in the world.  They are neither accidental nor coincidental.  Just like talents alone, true opportunities are gifts.  Our abilities to benefit from them is the cause-and-effect reward for doing the right things, at the right time, for the right reasons.  In other words, I believed, I planned, I prepared, I searched, I found and I took action.

Some opportunities sit patiently on a shelf waiting to be discovered and claimed by opportunity shoppers who are willing to pay the price.  There are no special requirements for acquiring the gift except that the purchaser is willing to pay the price.  From then on, the investment creates an incentive to do something meaningful with the opportunity.

There are also legacy opportunities tucked away in a safe place, for the right time, like a dowry or inheritance.  Others are the gifts of our potential.  Still others are gifts of love and attention.

Talent is both a gift and an opportunity.  It’s like a seed waiting to be planted and watered so it can grow to maturity, harvested and put to its intended use.  Talent comes with a purpose.  The purpose of an apple seed is to grow into an apple tree that produces apples.  Talents are the seeds of our lives.

There’s something even more important than just recognizing our gifts and opportunities — full understanding and use of them.  To do this, some key connections must be made.  Let’s call it the Opportunity Progression…

  • Talents – the innate gifts of “potential.” We’re all born with unique sets of abilities.
  • Potential – the God-given gift that enables everything we do AND gives hints about our possibilities.
  • Possibility – the gift of “hope.”  Hope is the attitude of expectations for a better future.
  • Hope – the gift that is built on trust, strengthens faith and inspires courage.
  • Courage – the gift that inspires and fuels action – both proactive a reactive.  Proactive courage leads to preparation.  The reactive gift is the courage to respond.  We need both types of courage.
  • Action – the gift that relies on our inner voice – the gift conscience.
  • Conscience – God’s voice of “purpose.”  It answers the purpose question “Why me?”  Purpose is the gift that reveals true opportunities and redirects action to be focused on right actions.  As such, conscience is the voice of character.
  • YOUR True Opportunities – those opportunities that successfully pass through the entire Opportunity Progression.

The Opportunity Tragedy

Lost and wasted opportunities are one human tragedy we all experience.  At this very moment you are on the brink of missing one because you are unaware, afraid, confused, uncommitted, distracted, ungrateful, arrogant and/or uninformed and therefore, unwilling to claim this opportunity.  Although these are the causes of breakdowns in the Opportunity Progression, there is one simple explanation that covers them all…

Lack of preparation is the cause of lost opportunities.
Preparation is a choice.
Therefore, the loss of opportunities is a choice.

We are who we are and where we are because of the daily choices we make regarding our personal preparation.  The loss of opportunities is the result of not spending enough of our finite resources becoming ready.  What areas of preparation am I referring to?

  • Wisdom – where knowledge, context and experience come together.
  • Beliefs – where wisdom joins with perspective, trust and confidence to form a foundation of truth.
  • Values – the beliefs that matter most to one or more individuals based on personal or shared relevance.
  • Attitudes – the way we feel about our beliefs determines the choices and quality of our actions.
  • Understanding – the ability to form judgments based on knowledge and circumstances.
  • Relationships – the way people interact, align, work and bond with one another.
  • Awareness – recognizing and understanding the events and opportunities around us.
  • Skills – the developed aptitudes, abilities and power to do something with competence.

The more we invest in ALL of these areas, the more valuable opportunities will be accessible to us.  It’s a matter of one choice — to prepare or not prepare, that is the question!

— CC


How Am I Sabotaging My Future? (Part 5)

Curious George was always getting into trouble.  I guess the little monkey didn’t know or didn’t care that “curiosity killed the cat.”  Comedian Steven Wright cares.  He once said, “Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.”  These perspectives suggest that curiosity is risky business.  And maybe it’s true.  But, without a healthy measure of curiosity, where would creativity come from?  Curiosity is the seed of creativity.  Maybe a candle metaphor is more appropriate.

“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.” — William Arthur Ward

Where would we be, individually and collectively, without creativity? Creativity is not a special emotion reserved for the fine arts and the field of entertainment.  It is woven into life itself, at least any life worth living.  Without  creativity, human life would be a robotic sort of pre-programmed existence — mediocre, monotonous and perhaps impossible.

“People die when curiosity goes.” — Graham Swift

In thinking of the challenges we face each day at work, creativity is without a doubt, a career requirement.  Every new problem calls out for creative solutions.  Without it, people would not be able to think outside the box and struggle seeing the options inside the box.  What value do employees have who can’t bring creativity to bear on problems?

The language of our times suggests that we’ve become lazy with our curiosity.  “Been there, done that” and “whatever” have replaced the exuberance of “Wow!” and “Cool!”  I’m suspicious that fear of curiosity may be causing creativity to go into hibernation.  Are you afraid to ask “Why?” or “What if?” questions.  Whether its laziness or fear, when curiosity is absent, creativity and the ability to solve problems are right behind.  Without realizing it, you have sabotaged your future.

Stimulating creativity is not difficult.  Just break a few patterns.  Try taking a different way to work or changing radio stations.  Eat dinner at a different time or order something different from the menu.  Talk to someone on an elevator.  Read a book.  Get up 30 minutes earlier.  Learn a new word and use it in conversation.  Attend a workshop.  Call a friend you haven’t seen recently.  Do something that’s hard.  Add something to this list that your friends would think is strange.  (Then, do it!)

When people are intentional about breaking patterns, curiosity returns and creativity grows again.  When curiosity and creativity replace lazy habits and fear, people are able to see new opportunities and new solutions.

“One of the secrets of life is to keep our intellectual curiosity acute.”
— William Lyon Phelps

Well, I wouldn’t say it’s a secret, just a forgotten truth.  All that’s needed is a reminder in a blog and a role model like Curious George to whip those creativity muscles back into shape.

— CC