Billionaire entrepreneur, Richard Branson, is cited as saying opportunities are like buses: there’s always another one coming along. You just have to be on the lookout for them.
If you’re not looking for buses (opportunities), you won’t see them, no matter how big and bright red they are.
But know this, which is probably the third lesson: opportunity doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t ignore anybody based on their gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, colour of their skin, age, or abilities.
If you believe it does, how did Oprah, a black woman, become one of the most successful human beings on the planet?
She didn’t have it easy. She suffered racism and sexism, and even tragedy on more than one occasion.
But she prepared herself and she took the opportunity when she saw it. She made her own luck. She created her own success.
No, opportunity doesn’t discriminate, but what it does do is present itself in many guises.
In other words, opportunity presents itself differently to different people. What is an opportunity for me is not an opportunity for you, and vice versa.
What presents as an opportunity for you doesn’t present itself as an opportunity for me.
Opportunity is a personalised gift from Life, the gift that never stops giving.
Your opportunities are only meant for you. In fact, I don’t even see your opportunities. They are invisible to me; your opportunities are only visible to you.
But you will only see your opportunities when you look for them through the right lens, and the right lens is the right mindset.
If you don’t have the right mindset, you won’t see your opportunities. You won’t even recognise them as opportunities.
The founder of General Electric, Thomas Edison, who’s been described as America’s greatest ever inventor, pointed out that opportunity is usually dressed in overalls and looks like hard work, which is why most people miss it or don’t recognise it.
The right mindset to see your opportunities as they present to you is to have the widest lens possible. Not shuttered. Not tinted. Not closed. Not blind.
But open, and you can gauge how open your mindset is when you have these 3 attitudes:
- Your opportunities are unlimited in number and in guise.
- Your opportunities are your personal gift from Life.
- Your opportunities grow with your expectations.
Just as your mobile phones are connected to a cellular network, I call these attitudes the 3G Network (Guise, Gift, Growth) because your attitude is how you communicate with your opportunity.
3G #1: Your Opportunities are Unlimited in Number and in Guise
Do you believe your opportunities are unlimited?
Do you believe your opportunities are all around you?
Do you believe your opportunities come in many sizes, shapes, and forms?
Successful people do. They see a wonderful world full of unlimited opportunities. They see them everywhere, in every size, shape, and form.
They know that for every problem there’s a solution, and in that solution is their opportunity to grow, to profit, to learn, to become better than before that problem existed.
How, then, can we see what they see? We have the same five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell, so what’s preventing us from seeing the opportunity in every problem?
Your judgement of ‘what is’ is what stops you from seeing ‘what really is’. Your judgement of ‘what is’ blinds you to the truth of ‘what is’. It is the plank in your eye, which is like a drawn curtain—you can’t see what’s outside.
The Sufis call this your ‘permanent hidden prejudice’, which is the filter through which you view yourself, your world, and everything else that happens in and around you.
Your permanent hidden prejudice is how you think the world should be, not what is presented to you.
It is often the underlying cause of all your frustrations, resistance, anger, jealousy, and fears.
It is often the very reason you struggle to live the life you want, the way you want, how you want.
The parable of the nun in the desert illustrates this point.
A nun was driving alone to her mission settlement through the Australian outback when she heard a loud bang and then noticed steam pouring through the hood of the car. She pulled over to the side of the dirt road just as the engine seized and died.
She knew traffic along the road was very infrequent, but being a woman of faith, she was not afraid. “God will provide,” she said.
As the hot midday sun beat down on her, a motorbike rider stopped and asked if she needed a ride.
“Thank you, but no, God will provide,” she said.
The night came and the hot sun rose again the next morning. By the afternoon, nobody else had driven by and she had finished her last bottle of water, but she was a woman of faith and she was not afraid.
That evening, a car pulled up next to her. “Do you need a lift?” asked the driver.
“Thank you, but no, God will provide,” she said.
On the third day, thirsty and hungry and barely able to stand, a farmer’s truck came to a halt in a cloud of dirt and dust. “Do you need a lift?” asked the farmer.
“Thank you, but no, God will provide,” she said, her throat dry and husky.
The next day, under the scorching sun, the nun perished and went to heaven. Annoyed that God had not provided for her in her hour of need, she demanded an immediate counsel with Him.
“Why did you not help me?” she asked.
“Goodness me,” said God, “I sent you a motorbike, a car, and then a truck. What else did you expect?”
When we have preconceived ideas of what opportunities should look like, we often fail to see them when they come to us.
Preconception often causes missed perception.
Just as the motorbike, the car, and the farmer’s truck were invisible opportunities to the nun, you risk missing out on the big opportunities
Life sends your way if you demand that they take a certain size, shape, or form.