The Power of an Opportunity (and the two ways successful people obtain them)

This article is curated from "Not Another Rich Idea: Turning Riches into Wealth" by Eugene Strite. 


What separates the successful from the unsuccessful? Why do some people succeed while others do not? There could be many reasons: motivation, passion, education. One of the most significant factors is that successful people know how to recognize and seize opportunities when they appear, while unsuccessful people do not. Opportunities abound for those who know how to look for them. Although the timing of opportunities cannot be predicted, it is possible to prepare ahead of time for when they do come. There is power in an opportunity. Depending on the circumstances, an opportunity met or missed can be life-changing. One key to seizing opportunities is to realize that they often appear in unexpected ways or in an unexpected form. Failure to recognize this fact can lead to a missed opportunity.

In 1995, I had been invited to travel to South Africa for the first time in my life. I gave little or almost no thought to this invitation and made a hasty decision to decline the offer. I had no desire to travel that far during that time of my life; nor did I see any advantage in spending time in a place where I knew absolutely no one. Six months later, I was presented with the same invitation. This time, I hesitated before making a decision. When the same proposal was extended to me a second time, I paid more attention. It didn’t take long before I decided I had better accept the offer. The end result was that, because I was willing to travel to an unfamiliar place, I was able to eventually purchase four game farms, several apartment complexes, and houses—all in South Africa.

Here is my point. Opportunities often appear in unexpected ways or in an unexpected form. We miss some good fortune because the opportunity comes in a much different way than we had expected it to. It may involve people we don’t care for or situations that we are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. Hence, we immediately disregard the potential of the experience.

I almost missed my chance because I saw and concentrated on a risk that I wasn’t willing to take. Fortunately, I put aside my lack of knowledge, shifted my perspective, traveled to a far-away country, and realized a substantial profit through acquiring several real estate properties. However, my narrow, fixed expectations almost cost me the chance of a lifetime. Once I saw things from a different perspective, I recognized the opportunity that was mine and seized it.




Narrow vision can be our greatest enemy in recognizing and seizing opportunities. We can be sidetracked by pride, prejudiced thinking, or other limitations and consequently miss wonderful opportunities for growth and increase that may come our way. This is why we need wisdom in our finances and every other area of life. Wise people expect, prepare for, and look for opportunities…and then grab hold of them as they come by.

Webster’s Dictionary defines opportunity as “a good chance for advancement or progress.”In this life, time is all we have and opportunities are what we get to make our time on earth meaningful and significant. Life, then, is a collection of seasons of taken or missed opportunities.

It is opportunities met or missed that determine our success or failure. The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized during the lifetime of that opportunity. Opportunities are time sensitive. It may never come again. If we do not seize the opportunity while it is there, we must live with the consequences of our inactivity, possibly for the rest of our lives. The big challenge of opportunities is that they will always take us out of our comfort zone. Some people don’t want to be made uncomfortable, which is why they never succeed.

Oprah Winfrey, a successful American business entrepreneur, has said, “Success comes when preparation and opportunity meet.”It is a true statement. An egg may be small and fragile, but it is destined to fly. Opportunities, then, are stepping-stones on the way to success. They are vehicles to help us get where we are going. Sometimes, opportunities may be small or appear not to hold much promise. Don’t let that bother you. Remember, an egg may be small and fragile, but it is destined to fly.


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