We all want out big break. That event that will cause our life to set sail with a constant, steady and friendly breeze and to relieve the stagnation of sitting on the sandbank watching other people living the life we want.
Well, if you’re like me, you already found it but you were too obtuse to realise that you found it. You keep if-ing and but-ing about it. You still want to try this and that, even though your gut is telling you that this and that ain’t it.
There’s a cat that sleeps on my porch and he’s very scared of people. If he’s known you a year, you feed him every day and you let him saunter into your house and let him pee on your carpet, you can pet him. And that’s only before you’ve fed him.
When I have food in my hand, he’ll sniff everywhere on my hand, sniff the food, sniff everywhere else, then sniff the food again and then eat it. However, if he sees me put food in his dish, he knows there’s food. And a lot of us are like that. If we don’t get our food in our little dish, if we don’t get food in the way we expect it or if we are wary of why our food is not where we expect it, we just sniff around wondering where’s the grub? We may starve.
What if the opportunities we want are already here? And if they’re here, why can’t we find them?
Louis Pasteur once said, “Chance favors only the prepared mind.” Meaning, these serendipitous breaks that we’re waiting for don’t come to just anyone, nor are they really luck. But because you’ve kept your attention on a particular goal, your mind is primed to see things that another with a less initiated mind would miss, overlook or reject.
It’s similar to the Eureka moment. Archimedes had been doing the math but had hit a snag. When he saw displacement happen before his eyes as he dipped into the tub, he solved how to gauge the volume of irregular objects. Thousands of others would dip into a tub that very day and not gain the answer Archimedes did.
Therefore, in order to see and seize the opportunities we want, we have to immerse ourselves in things that are relevant to what we want. If you want to be a writer, you have to write just as if you wanted to be a swimmer, it would be in your best interest to go to a pool. Environment is crucial.
Moreover, it isn’t enough to just get a typewriter or go to a pool. You need to learn how to do it properly. You need a teacher, instructor or even a mentor to show you the ropes, to help you avoid the pitfalls and to show you how to get out of the pits with said ropes.
A lot of us don’t want the help though. We want to figure it out on our own. I can’t blame them. I did the same thing for some stuff but if you can even find someone to journey with you, that makes it more fun and it reinforces the goal. But two people walking a path with half a map (at best)… hmm… I think eventually you’re going to need a teacher.
I’m studying screenwriting after years of doing it on my own and trying to get something at least optioned. I couldn’t take rejection well. I didn’t like the run-around I got between sponsors and networks. It caused me to rethink my approach. With more failure comes more experience and my approach has changed several times just over the last year.
However, this is good. I’m not really changing my vision. I’m actually realizing my vision was too small and some potential avenues were more like cul-de-sacs. In being in the right environment as I mentioned before and seeing how you need to grow and think in order to achieve, you either pull up or shut up.
I low-key might also be trying to play it small and safe. Guess I’ll reread this one day and flip that I knew this but didn’t actually know it.
But there’s one last caveat I want to add about why you miss opportunities. You miss opportunities because you limit the scope of what is possible because you don’t think you’re good enough or it’s too good to be true or it’s too easy.
As a result, we go after what makes us nervous. We confuse ourselves by thinking it’s an opportunity to grow and that it’s good for us. Yeah, it might be. But it might not get you any closer to what you really want. Hell, it may even hinder it.
Don’t think this just applies to work stuff. It applies to relationships too. Butterflies in your stomach has been thought to be a sign of attraction but let’s face it, if I have butterflies learning how to swim for the first time, it’s because I’m afraid of drowning. Why would a potential relationship be different? The anxiety is trying to tell you something (something other than that they’re cute).
But such is our socialization.
Why not shoot for the things that are exactly what you want? Why do you have to go around your desire? It’s because you don’t think you can get what you want. That may be hard to hear, but again, if you’re like me, it might be true. So many people work jobs they hate because that’s what they saw everyone else doing.
Such is our socialization. We have to look within and pay attention to how we feel about the things we want. Sometimes we don’t think we’re good enough, so naturally, when the opportunity presents itself, we think, “Oh, I’ll let somebody else get that one. That might be too much for me.” Then we rationalize it by saying we don’t have the experience or the training to soothe the pain of walking away from a promising opportunity.
Other times it’s just straight sabotage, but it’s about baby steps. We fail forward. We will miss opportunities. We have missed opportunities. We may very well miss more, but eventually we’ll jump on one of these boats and set sail.
We have to undo the programming that prevents us from having the experiences we desire for ourselves. The first step is to be aware that maybe the opportunity is here; we just need to hone in on it.