An open mind gives you a vista to a world of opportunity. A vista, being a narrow path through which you can see something that would otherwise be hidden, is also easy to miss. It is like a dark path in which there is a small light and as you move towards it you realise that you were in a forest all along and you were looking at the sun which only presented itself as a small ray but that is full of blazing glory.
Many obstacles block us from fully exploring the inner recesses of our own being – and the last thing that we expect to find in there is a blazing sun. Mostly we are afraid of what we may find if we lift the hood and stare ourselves in the face and realise that we have regrets, unfulfilled desires and hopes and dreams that never grew up. We may have blockages, fears, physical limitations and shadows that chase us.
If we can get past this point – we find in ourselves the inner being that although slightly uglier than the outer being, has an amazing power to direct itself on the conscious and subconscious level to great heights and powerful fulfilment of ideals and hope. Getting to know this entity is both interesting and challenging but as we get closer to the core of our inner being we see brightness and shining and we start to glow on the inside and outside.
Going to the next level in the meandering journey of self-exploration is more interesting. As we start finding what is outside and bringing it inside and taking that which is inside and expressing it on the outside then all of a sudden a lot of opportunity opens up. The path that was dark becomes scintillating and moves the spirit forward, onward to a place yet undiscovered.
We find that we are capable of much more than anticipated. The vistas open up and the journey becomes one step after the other. We not only see the light – but we are starting to walk towards it. As we walk, we are encouraged and start to run.
But opportunity does not stop there. Much like the journey of a thousand miles – this is only the first step. Opportunity becomes art when practiced.
The race is long and there are many side paths. Still not sure where it takes us – we can only keep moving forward. We break our fears – step forward and discover more about ourselves and others. Digging deep, persevering and persisting makes both the journey worthwhile and the companionship of our inner being more rewarding.
Everything that we see is an opportunity to create a masterpiece – but only in creating the masterpiece does the now get captured and evokes the emotions and perception that the artist wants us to experience. The vista opens a world that has never before been explored and changes all that is around and within us.
The laws of opportunity
Now, opportunity is a strange and to understand this strangeness there are some aspects of it that is useful to get to know better. Some very basic and immutable laws guide opportunity. There are at least four laws of opportunity that have to be understood. These are outlined here.
Law 1: Opportunity is everywhere
The first thing to become conscious of is that there is so much of it. Opportunity is everywhere and in every thing. Some people call this abundance. So people call this creativity and some are just totally ignorant of this fact. After you become aware of opportunity – the next step is to understand some of the laws that guide it.
It is everywhere – much like quantum states – once you start observing an opportunity – then only does it become real.
So as you are where you are right now – there is a million choices and options in front of you. When you see and act on one of them – it moves from the possibility to opportunity status and shapes your destiny from that point onward.
Law 2: Opportunity is on every level
The second aspect is that the opportunity exists at many levels. There is a physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual aspect to opportunity. For an idea to manifest and get real it however has to start being manifested on every level.
You may believe (spiritual), think how to achieve (intellectual), get a strong feeling (emotional) and then do something about it (physical).
Something may happen to you (physical), you may have strong feelings about it (emotional), you may want to rectify this (spiritual) and become passionate about this cause (emotional).
The best ideas manifest on all the different levels and play out on each level. Opportunity happens on the inside of your being and you need to manifest it on the outside of your being.
Law 3: Opportunity takes any form
Opportunity can be both good and bad. The basic idea is that the universe does not create good and evil – it is only the expression of that which happens to the raw material that the universe provides that manifests as good and evil.
This is an important law as there is always more than one way to achieve the same objective. This is the way of war and the way of peace. It is the path of creation and the path of destruction. Balancing both sides is challenging and this creates opportunities in themselves.
Law 4: Opportunity opens or closes other opportunities
The fourth law is that some opportunity excludes other opportunities, while some open them up. So deciding to work in one industry may exclude you from another – while at the same time opening up a range of options within that specific field.
These laws allow us to learn something about how to approach opportunities in our life.
Life as a sequence of opportunities
So if we look at where we are in life today as a sequence of opportunities we see a different picture emerge. You are most likely exactly where you needed to be right now, doing exactly what you were meant to do and you are exactly who you are. This state of being acknowledges that you have taken the opportunities around you and that they have brought you to where you are right now. It means that to change the environment you are in – you need to change your opportunity set.
An interest challenge to the world of opportunity is that there is too much to take advantage of each and every opportunity and to shape the outcomes that you desire there is a cardinal rule that has to be observed.
If you want to get somewhere – go there. Opportunity will present itself, sometimes unexpectedly but always.
The corollary to this law is that if you are not where you want to be – then go where you want to be.
Stop waiting for opportunity to happen to you – when mostly we ignore the fact that opportunity is in fact around each one of us all the time.
This brings to the fore the role of patience. Somehow we are often very patient with the things that are required from us. The art of strategy is sometimes portrayed as getting a sequence of events just right to have that “perfect storm” or great idea. This is a farce.
Most people that have what they want will tell you how they relentlessly pursued the thing they wanted and how they manifested the great ideas by visualisation, determination and constantly progressing towards their goal. Current literature seems to suggest that breakthroughs are not incremental, but radical. So why do we then spend such a lot of time in organisations and in life seeking incremental change, hoping to achieve ideals towards which we should just leap.
To get what we want and to seize the opportunity we have to go there. Move closer to your goals and opportunities will open up to take you there.
This is much easier and much more difficult than it sounds. For to be able to envisage the end state, requires a clear view of what you really are and to take this to a full conclusion.
The science of opportunity
To think of it in scientific terms – opportunities, like everything else exist in time and space. Physics makes the statement that if we observe a particle we can observe it either in time or in space. And to see the change in a particle we can decide if we want to see it in time or in space but not both. It does not change the path of the particle but we cannot observe the path of the particle if we do not respect the time-space phenomena. To translate this into opportunity – we can decide if we want to see change in terms of time or space to see opportunities realise. If we choose time – then it will require us to observe the changes over time. If we choose space – then we observe the changes in space. For us to observe changes over time – we need to sit still in the same place at different intervals and evaluate what has changed. To observe the changes over space – we need to sit down at different times and reflect on the space that we now occupy.
Leaping at opportunities
Leaping is scary – but you cover more ground. Achieving you full potential is scary but somehow it is a better state than being afraid in a deep and dark corner.
Innovation and growth will increasingly depend on radical shifts towards the ideal state and less on incremental increases and releases. This idea is captured in the image of leaping towards a goal – but while this takes you in the right direction – it only starts to affect the end picture.
To get to an ideal state requires us to have the skill of getting the end state in mind. If you can build a picture in your mind of what something needs to look like – you are 80% there. The remaining 20 percent is just going there.
For us in the modern civilisation we must ask ourselves if we think enough. We must take enough time to visualise the necessary state of being, mental attitudes, situations and scenarios and end state of where we need to be. We do not spend enough time understanding who we are and what we really, really want.
Why do we leap? Is it because of instinct or because of contemplation. Both are equally valid reasons. The reality is that until we leap – we do not get closer and the path remains obscured.
After the leap – the breakthrough
There is also the idea of breakthroughs. We all start in school trying out as athletes. You take your first race and as you get half way you realise that others are in front of you and others are behind you. If you are in front – you may be lucky and push harder. If you are in the back you may start giving up already. The person in the middle has a choice. Either they can decide to push harder and go forward or to decide to lose. This is a tough choice as they may not even know what victory is like. It is also a tough choice because the consequences are not understood yet. Being more or less open to that choice at that time is a solitary decision that may be influenced by so many factors but still the choice then will determine the habit of the person from that point onwards. If you choose then to keep on pushing through – you will always push through. If you choose to fail then you may always fail. The important aspect to realise that while not each one us is a natural athlete – that if you choose to become something and push through that this becomes a very powerful tool in opportunity.
Breaking through our fears through hope, courage and inspiration is key. We must try and try harder. We must try again and keep on trying. Moving forward is the key to getting ahead. Pushing onward is necessary to not getting stuck and remaining behind.
Somehow the image of breaking through and pushing onward gives the right sense that it requires repetition, honing and perfection of an art.
Repetition – A necessary precondition?
If at first you don’t succeed – then try and try again. The idea is not new. A good question is to ask if you can succeed at all without trying and trying again. There are very few real world stories in which the successful character did not try many times or try in many ways before getting the initial breakthrough. Once you succeed you get into a routine of discipline that requires you to continue working at the same thing over and over until you have perfection in every action. Keeping at it seems to be a way to get closer to an ideal and chipping away at a big picture.
Brazilian soccer players that play futsal are apparently more successful at soccer than the millions of other people in the world. The reason is that futsal is a soccer type game that is played with a ball that is harder to manipulate and subsequently each player has more kicking time and effort on the ball. When a good futsal player gets behind a soccer ball then they have so much more freedom and can kick harder, do more to manipulate the ball and they have spend more time learning how to play.
To get better at something we need to be immersed in in. Reading Chinese, Arabic or Finnish is hard – but not if you are a six year old Chinese, Arabic or Finnish boy or girl – because you are surrounded by it and open to what is happening around you. The same is true for all the other languages in the world. By breaking it down and surrounding yourself with ideas from a discipline or language you will master it.
Obstacles and Unlearning
Einstein described trying to achieve something different by the same result as insanity. This is true in the space of opportunity as well. Trying to take an opportunity from idea to reality without changing direction, approaches and methods – will result in a massive price to learning. While conviction keeps one on a path, it is only through adaptation that we correct course.
Some people are quite stubborn and believe that there is only one path that leads to an outcome. There is always at least two. In mathematics you are taught that there are three outcomes to an equation. This could be that there is no answer, that there is one answer or that there are many answers. To get to this point there is always two ways to prove it. You can show that it has an answer (existence) or you can provide the answer.
This is why prototyping is so important in innovation and opportunity. Creating a prototype creates a proof that the concept can exist and highlights what can co wrong and as we scale up the prototype – so we can correct for issues of scale. But not only that – by studying what is out there we can use these as prototypes for our own ideas. What has worked before serves to inform the art of the possible.
But – somehow to innovate and to really act on opportunity – we have to unlearn the things that we know now. We have to embrace that which we do not know, but also challenge what we do know. We may also have to do things that others have thought impossible and revisit the so-called lessons that we took earlier.
There are many experiments that was done in terms of behavioural conditioning where e.g. a elephant is tied up as a small baby with a tiny rope and they get so used to this rope constraining them that they end up being large animals that get tied by the same rope – without ever realising that they can break the rope without even exerting any effort if they were only aware of the possibility that this was possible.
So we let ourselves be convinced that there are absolutes in this world, which will never be different. Beyond every constant – there is a vista. What if there was something beyond the smallest number, more infinite than the largest thought and deeper than inside our dreams. We have proven that time is not constant, that there is something faster than the speed of light, that there are galaxies that are smaller than a pinprick. So what does this mean for opportunity? It tells us that opportunity exists both inside of our current perception of reality and beyond that. Opportunity comes from connecting ideas that were unconnected previously and stretching that which already exist to be different.
Detachment and letting it go
Often you find that you achieve most results when you let an idea go. Just after you give up – there is a breakthrough but your energy is lost. Experimenting with this idea some people have come up with a strategy of letting it go before then. Releasing on ideas until you do not care if you achieve it – allow you to have considered all angles and letting it go. You may think it is alchemy or magic – but it is just your inner being opening up to a world of possibility by not worrying. Emotions are funny – they warn you that you may be of things that you already have. By letting your emotions go – you see that the world in in front of you.
From breakthrough to artistry
Being successful and being good at something is an art. The first time is unfamiliar. The next time may be easier because of reflection. After that there is a long journey of perfecting a craft. Many people believe that opportunity itself, once it is presented, will just allow them to take it and it will be easy from there on. We need to push past this early break-through point and perfect the art of delivering on this opportunity.
Habits and the unconscious mind form a large part of defining how we look at ideas and issues. You see the investment banker read a headline and make a trade that yields a massive profit. Reflecting on how he got there is not a simple journey. The person may have been encouraged in early school to be good math. His parents supported him in this passion. In high school he was not good enough at one area and decided that this area gave him more opportunity. He went to study and had a first job where he did not do this. He may have had various career experiences and have had many opportunities to both succeed and fail at trading. His employer may have supported him through promotion and other training and development. His clients built trust in him, all the while he was reading about markets, the companies, trends and getting information from all the diverse sources in the world.
His mind was creating a predictive capability that combines mathematical calculations, with information from the world together with attitudes, perceptions and harsh lessons learnt into an evaluative ability that at the point of getting the right information, and conditions be right, leads to a trade being executed and being successful. The mastery in the trader’s ability goes a level deeper. He knows what to do when the trade is not successful and how to this again for more and more stocks in different markets. His habits, attitudes and skills all feed into making him a trading engine that can achieve profits from different scenarios. He may become curious when a certain stock does not behave the way he expected and do some further investigation and because of the links in his brain he can then start to understand what happened here. It will alert him when he sees a stock with similar information attached to it in future and he may modify ever so slightly the information that he collects before making a trade – or alternatively he may see a massive opportunity and find a way to exploit this type of information going forward.
Yet we sometimes think by putting money on a stock, we will become rich overnight.
Everything is nothing and a blazing sun
The artist does a brush stroke without thinking. The sage knows what is missing after all has been considered. A child knows the world of opportunity because there is no filter and everything is nothing.
By transcending our daily existence we liberate and free ourselves to look at the world in a different way. The path may be one less travelled – but it is a path in which we get closer to a new world in which each one of us is liberated and can see each other in the light.
Inside there is a blazing sun – that not only shines but can make others shine. We have to discover it first and unleash its power. It is a not an easy journey – but one that is worth it.
Living on another level
You can decide to survive or you can decide to prosper. Survival is much easier and harder at the same time. To prosper or to live your life on a level where you make a real and significant impact on everything around you is as much work as surviving but it creates its own wind and supports its own results.
There is a quote that is often attributed to Mandela and Mariam Williamson that says that our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light and not our darkness that most frightens us.
The interest aspect of this is that it starts with a choice. You choose to express yourself on the level of survival or prosperity and you can change your space over time – you just have to start moving towards your goals. You choice – changes your attitude. A changed attitude affects your actions and your relationships. When these factors combine your society changes and you change your society. You become what you always wanted to be.
Opportunity is a start – a place to begin. We can be opportunity collectors or delivery agents for opportunities that are out there. There is a world of possibility and it starts with getting to know the self and persisting to achieve great things.
It is not a simple path to find and right now you may only see a pin-prick in a hidden universe. Move towards the light of opportunity daily and you will be liberated from your own limitations soon.
Even the easiest or most complex requirements can be delivered on. Nothing is impossible but we may have to look at how to approach this on many levels.