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

Stuff Happens!

“It’s not the blowing of the wind that determines your destination, but the set of the sail. The same wind blows on us all. … It’s not what happens that determines your life’s future. It’s what you do about what happens.” -– Jim Rohn

Life is too short to get stressed out about every negative thing that happens. “Stuff happens” to everyone, but only a relatively few get a disproportionate share. Miserable people have just conditioned themselves to believe they get more stuff. And boy do they like to let us know about it!

Miserable people …

  • focus on bad things so much that they get really good at finding them;
  • blow things totally out of proportion, making small stuff bigger than life;
  • turn good news into bad news;
  • use stuff to get attention.

Have you ever heard someone whine incessantly about something and thought to yourself, “What’s the big deal?” Here’s an example. I recently overheard a man complaining that the cost of gas this year was probably going to keep him from going on vacation. This type of response could be expected from a whiner. Suppose the vacation would require 800 miles of driving. Now, we can all agree that the price of gas by American standards is very high (probably about $1 higher than last summer.) Suppose also that the vehicle of choice gets 20 mpg meaning it will cost an extra $40 (in gas) to go on vacation than it did last year. My conclusion is that if a mere $40 is enough to keep someone at home, he has much bigger problems than the price of gas. How sad that someone would pass up a vacation, make himself unnecessarily miserable, and drag others through his quagmire instead of simply solving the problem.

  • Choose a destination that is 200 miles closer to home.
  • Stay in less expensive hotels or come home one night earlier.
  • Reduce dining out expenses by bringing food or skipping a meal.
  • Bring a friend who will share some of the expenses.
  • Go out and earn $40.

We choose our attitude in every situation. Enough of my words, here are some quotes on the subject.

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

“Pessimism is an excuse for not trying and a guarantee to a personal failure.” -– Bill Clinton

“Misery no longer loves company. Nowadays it insists on it.” -– Russell Baker

“A misery is not to be measured from the nature of the evil, but from the temper of the sufferer.” -– Joseph Addison

“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” -– Martha Washington

“The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.” -– Robert Frost

“Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything good in the world.” -– Helen Keller

“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and It’s All Small Stuff” -– Richard Carlson

“Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.” — George Carlin

God bless,

— CC

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