There is an arrow flying through the air right now; the arrow is moving at an incredible speed. If we blink for a second, we can miss the entire flight between its launch and its impact, yet if we took a fast series of pictures we would see the arrow stopped in motion in each frame. In each individual millisecond of time the arrow is frozen, and it is only after we put the pictures together that we can see how fast the arrow is moving. Sometimes when we focus intently on something we can miss important details, like in this case by studying the picture, we take for granted the speed at which it is passing us by. Opportunities can be a lot like arrows: sometimes they come to us and pass us by before we see them; others, they seem to stand still in the moment we examine them.
Every day we are faced with decisions and choices: some of them are easy; others, incredibly complex. Opportunities are constantly flying by us ready for us to reach out and grab them, but we have to have the right mindset to see them and we must act before its too late.
Imagine that success is a number of 1 through 10. What are you right now? How close are you to your ultimate dreams and success, 1, 4, 7, 8? Now imagine the number matches a corresponding level of a highrise building, as you raise up you can look out or below and you can see opportunities that are near you and beneath you, but you cannot see above you to the next level. As you improve yourself and capture more opportunities you gain the ability to see more opportunity.
Why do some people turn everything into success while others consistently fall short or fail to see opportunities. Part of it is our level of consciousness, the more aware we are of ourselves and our surrounding the more prepared we are to act when we need to act. Successful people have spent excess amounts of times honing their skills, sharpening their talents, improving themselves in every way. If you don’t have the experience and knowledge to see an opportunity for what it is, then its easy to pass it up.
Imagine walking out into a field and having someone tell you to find a spot that has gold and dig it up out of the ground. Most of us would have no clue where to begin: it would seem like a hopeless endeavor and we would quickly move on. An experienced prospector, however, might see that we are standing on a gold mine, they would examine the soil and analyze the mineral content, they would look at nearby rock formations, and they would check a map of gold finds in the area. The prospectors knowledge and experience has allowed them to see opportunity where we saw only dirt.
The best way to ensure that you are ready to strike gold when its there, is to learn as much as you can. Read books, take courses and classes, experience new things, travel, and expand your mind. By committing to expanding your mind, you increase your knowledge, expertise, and experience in a way that poises you for success in the future. There are numerous things to learn in the world, but setting out to learn and experience things that interest you or are relevant to you will put you in a place to recognize more opportunities in your life.
Steve Jobs gives an amazing speech at Stanford Commencement, and in it he talks about dropping out of college. He tells us that he started taking classes he enjoyed, just for the learning experience. He mentions taking a class for calligraphy, which happened to be one of the premier classes of the college he attended. He loved the class and learned a lot about font, line spacing, and making letters look great. 10 years later when he was designing the first Mac, he used his knowledge of fonts to create beautiful script for the personal computer. Because of a seized opportunity 10 years earlier, he was ready to insert this knowledge into his creation and increase its value and chance at success.
Many people feel that being successful requires getting lucky, that it is just being in the right place at the right time, but thats an unfair summary: you have to be ready for success to get it, you have to be prepared to take the opportunity that presents itself. Bettering yourself every day, pushing yourself to your maximum, and expanding your power to make decisions based off of knowledge and experience is how to ensure your success. The only way to have success is to take the moment when it presents itself, but it won’t often land in your lap, you’ll need to be ready to capture it when it shows itself.