How To Make The Most Of Opportunities

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. – Winston Churchill


Opportunities are everywhere, as are difficulties, which is why the key to succeeding is to embrace difficulty, as inside lies the very element for which you search. The very act of living life is to have difficulties and it is simply the way you view these and yourself as to whether your score card in life will depict you as a winner or a loser.

Only too often in my life I have solved the immediate problem, but in doing so, I have created a further problem, which continually takes me further away from making progress and achieving tangible success. I recently read a clever story that highlighted to me there can be many solutions to any difficulty but not all of them will unlock the opportunity hidden within. Once at an interview at a reputed business school, a panel of intelligent interviewers was conducting interviews of prospective students for admission to the school. When Mark, one of the prospective students entered the room and nervously sat on the chair in front of them, the panel said to him: “We shall either ask you 10 easy questions or one really difficult question. Choose carefully as it will determine your admission to the school!” Mark thought for a while and answered: “I would like to answer one really difficult question.”

“Well, good luck to you. You have made your choice! Now answer this: What comes first, day or night?”

Mark was jolted into reality as his admission depended on the correctness of his answer to this single question, but he thought for a while and said: “It’s the day, sir!”

“How?” asked the interviewer.

“Sorry sir, you assured me that I do not need to answer a second difficult question!”

He was selected for admission! The genius in simplicity is evident in this answer, but so too is the confidence to take control. Mark simply used the rules placed upon him by circumstance to his advantage and had the courage to assert his control over his situation.

Qualifying and getting started

Once you realise opportunities are in absolute abundance, you are confronted with the next challenge, which is the need to find a way of selecting the opportunity that will best fit your circumstance. Mark was selected to attend the reputed business school and conventional wisdom would say the opportunity was to learn in his chosen subjects. But while attending this reputed business school Mark saw the opportunity to launch a business idea and market it to his peers who were destined to be future influencers and learn at the same time. This opportunity within an opportunity has seen many entrepreneurs get their start and an early break in exactly that way. One of the most famous being Facebook’s founder.

To qualify your idea, you are wanting to measure the opportunity against your expectations and needs. This is, of course, much easier when you already know what you want in the different areas of your life, as you will automatically attract and see opportunities that resonate with your desired direction. But there isn’t one approach and different people successfully use different methods to select a good opportunity from an average one. My advice is: don’t get too hung up on this and instead focus on whether or not you get excited. The three tests I use are: How passionate about this am I? What are the barriers to getting started? What would success look like? If, after that, you still think this is exciting, take the next step and turn your desire into a plan.

Making it a success requires more than luck

You might repeat this start process a few times before something really takes off, but hang in there, as the key is to keep working on the plan every single day with commitment and conviction. Keep adapting and persevere.