I am grateful for the opportunities in my life. I am not talking about earth-shattering events that alter the affairs of nations, or even my neighborhood, but for the little things that allow me to improve my life one moment at a time. Too often, I bypass the small events in my life, waiting for some huge event to come by that alters my life forever. I suppose it’s like the fisherman who keeps tossing back fish that don’t meet his standards, waiting for the big one that will make his day. So, instead of a bucketful of fish, he has unfulfilled expectations. I think that opportunities are all around, but I turn them down because I am waiting for a bigger, more satisfying opportunity to come my way.
I wonder if a part of it is that taking hold of an opportunity requires effort and change. It always means doing something differently, taking a new route, putting in more work, changing the mindset. It seems that every improvement requires a change of some sort. In some sense, comfort or homeostasis is the enemy of growth. When we are comfortable with our lives, then we have little desire for change. That is because change is tied to discomfort or even pain. We change when we no longer accept our lives as they now stand. Unfortunately, we humans have the capacity to withstand great amounts of pain before we make that change. Often it is because we imagine the pain of change to be greater than the pain of what we are currently doing. However, for change to happen – lasting change – we need to see the change as a good thing and our current situation as a bad thing. We tend to move away from pain and towards pleasure. And in that order.
Notwithstanding all the trouble it is to change, I am grateful for understanding the distinction. I know that change will require effort, a shift in my mindset, and taking deliberate action. That’s because when there is an opportunity in my life, I know what I need to do to take advantage of it. Too often, I see an opportunity and dismiss it before even trying it out. I realize that this first comes from my belief system and my active thoughts. So, the first step I must take is to make sure that my thoughts and belief system are in line with making the most of an opportunity. For example, if I am offered a job that makes me more money each year, then I have to assess whether my beliefs will assess or hinder me in this new opportunity. If I have the belief that making money above my level of necessity is wrong, then I will subconsciously sabotage myself to keep my income and expenses equal. In a similar manner, if I want to exercise, but I think that those who exercise are vain jerks, then I’ll find excuse after excuse not to put in the effort to improve my body.
Ed Mylett had a great video that highlighted an aspect of this – the difference between cost and worth. The words we use, both to others and ourselves have a decided impact on our thinking and our behavior. In this video, he talked about the difference between cost and worth. When we consider the cost of something, we experience pain because something is being taken from us or we have to give up something that has value to us. On the opposite side is the word worth. When we use this word, we are talking about something that has value, something that we want to move towards, something good. It seems to me that if say, I want to eat healthier, then I list all of the ways that fast food and packaged food cost me my health and joy in life and the how healthy foods increase the worth of my body and improve the worth of my relationships and daily activities.
It also seems to me that seizing oppo rtunities requires energy. It means taking action and making changes in one’s life. One example that comes to mind is relationships. When a relationship starts, it has a certain amount of emotional energy to it and the energy of those emotions intermingle between the two people and generate a synergy that spurs on that love. However, life has an entropic aspect to it as well. If we want the relationship to flourish, we have instill it with energy, that is, take action to improve the quality of that love. If we do nothing, it will be pulled into a whirlpool of apathy that will destroy the relationship.
I am grateful that opportunities are all like this. I am able to see more opportunities as I take advantage of them and make them a part of my life. When I take hold of them and instill them with energy, the more opportunities appear. I am also grateful to know that it is my own responsibility to see and use them – it is no one else’s job to make the most out of my own life.
Every morning sun is a symbol of daily greatness – a birth of energy and power to make the most of what life has to offer, but only if we make it so. Let us all be active participants in our own success.