Here is what I choose to believe about opportunity.

I believe that opportunity comes to both the prepared and unprepared, the wise and the foolish. Often opportunity is disguised as a problem or calamity. Henry J. Kaiser said “Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.”

Thousands of years across the continents seem to indicate that chance has a role in life. Some people claim to be the master of their own ship and master of their destiny, able to name and claim good outcomes. Perhaps. I believe chance is part of the mix.

When opportunity is afoot and you are responsive, it may seem as if coincidences tumble across your path. You’ll notice signs pointing you to opportunity.

Sometimes you’ll have plenty of time to decide whether an opportunity is worth pursuing. Often the appropriate choice is to decline. Other opportunities will vanish or be seized by others before you seriously consider them.

Once you decide to pursue an opportunity

Now it’s show time! Your job becomes both simple and difficult. You must try to see the opportunity through to its impossible-to-predict outcome. Opportunity needs to be escorted out of the realm of possibility into the world of reality.

There is no shortage of classical examples of rich fools.

Some agree to give up all else to chase material wealth. To achieve their goal, they might be willing to become angry, anxious, arrogant, bitter, blaming, conspiracy-minded, jealous, petty, sabotaging, or self-absorbed. They may honor darkness. The strategy often works. Where your treasure is, your heart will follow. Energy follows focus.

But that strategy won’t bring peace or joy. Others may look at what wealth has cost its owners and choose not to lean their ladder against the wall of material wealth.

There’s at least one other way to apprehend success.

Cooperate with opportunity, joyfully, and humbly. Nurture healthy relationships, recognize you have influence but not control, support others, and link your value to your dedication. Dare to be pleased.

Pursue opportunity with curiosity, not dread and fear. Aim to create value for others.

If you don’t obtain the results you sought, choose to consider your efforts a worthwhile and constructive experiment. The chase changes you and promotes growth.

This second approach could provide a gratifying life of enduring satisfaction. Your wealth might be in friendship, regardless of the inheritance you leave. At the end of your days, you may reflect on enjoying a long life of satisfaction and contribution.

It’s up to you.

What are your beliefs about opportunity?


This post was inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.


Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.

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