Opportunist’s Mindset

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.

God Bless,

— CC

Easy Vs. Hard

The expression “work smart, not hard” is advice about efficiency by leveraging resources. It presumes that working smart leads to easier work. Efficiency and a lighter burden are always good goals as long as the easy way and hard way both lead to the same destination. The critical question when faced with an easy vs. hard choice is, “Do they really go to the same place?”

As human beings, the natural tendency is to pick the path of least resistance even when this is not expected to produce the best results. Always choosing easy over hard is based on near-term mindset. Instant gratification is an example that comes to mind. In the long run, we end up settling for far less in life if we make a habit of taking the easy path. Being one who is willing to consider and choose the more challenging path, whenever it makes long-term sense, requires a deep-seated commitment to the future.

“Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry, all things easy. He that rises late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night, while laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.” — Benjamin Franklin


“Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.”
— Anonymous

Easy and Hard Can Be Matters of Perspective and Attitude

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

“There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly.” — Terence (185 BC – 159 BC)

“Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult as if they were easy; in the one case that confidence may not fall asleep, in the other that it may not be dismayed.” — Baltasar Gracian

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill

Difficulties Help Sharpen Our Axes

“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” — Seneca (5 BC – 65 AD)

“All things are difficult before they are easy.” — Dr. Thomas Fuller (1654 – 1734)

“If at first you DO succeed, try something harder.” — John C. Maxwell

Facing Difficulty Requires Courage

“It is surmounting difficulties that makes heroes.” — Louis Pasteur, microbiologist

“Courage and perseverance have a magic talisman, before which difficulties and obstacles vanish into air.” — John Adams

“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

Dealing With Difficulty

“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.” — Dale Carnegie

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle.” — Phillips Brooks (1835 – 1893)

Finally, always remember the words of Edward R. Murrow:

“Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.”

God Bless,

— CC

© Copyright July 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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