Opportunity Knocks, But You Still Have to Open the Door

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

It’s the first day of February. For those of us here in the US, tomorrow is a special day. It’s the day we watch a clown in a top hat translate the squeaks of a large rodent into prognostications about the weather that the most experienced meteorologists with the most sophisticated equipment can’t guess beyond the next few hours. Let me answer that for you right now. It’s gonna be cold!

For those of you in parts of the world that don’t rely on folklore to tell you if you need a jacket, here’s the basic premise. The clown in the top hat takes a groundhog out of a fake log. If the groundhog sees his shadow (it’s sunny, or the TV lights are especially bright), it means an early spring; no shadow means we’re in for at least six more weeks of misery. High-tech, huh?

And we don’t stop when it comes to groundhogs. When I first moved back to Ohio, everyone was talking about the wooly worms. “Did you see the fur on that one? We’re in for a cold winter!” “See which way the geese are flying? It’s about to snow!” “My dog was scratching his butt on the ground this morning. It’s gonna storm tonight!” Or maybe his butt itches. It’s hard to tell.

One my granddaddy taught me is that, when the trees show the back side of their leaves, it’s about to rain. That one is based at least a little bit in science. The shiny side of a leaf doesn’t absorb much water, so trees flip their leaves over to let the porous side catch the rain. Or the wind is blowing hard enough to flip them over. I’ve never actually asked a tree.

It’s an effort to explain the unexplainable, which means it’s probably very explainable to some people, but not to us. You know, smart people. The ones who can explain the molecular structure of a carbon atom but can’t balance a checkbook. That’s a different kind of smart. And then there’s my grandson, who hasn’t mastered either. He’s too focused on shoes.

It’s normal to be amused, if not somewhat enlightened, by folklore. After all, Granddaddy lived to be in his 90s and was pretty smart, so he couldn’t have been wrong about everything. It’s also why we gaze suspiciously on black cats and kids are afraid to step on a crack in the sidewalk. Except my youngest daughter. She finally confessed that she jumped on every crack in the county.

While folklore may have at least some basis in fact, superstition is simply a way of passing the buck for things that don’t go as planned. “It was just bad luck.” Couldn’t have been anything we did, right? You know, like blowing money at the carnival instead of paying bills. Or sitting in front of the TV instead of searching the online job boards. “Nobody wants to hire me. I just can’t catch a break!”

Well, as I’ve suggested in the past, if you want better luck, you have to do something about it. Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparedness. And, since opportunity is always there, luck is the natural result (or consequence) of our preparedness to make the most of opportunities as they arise. Let’s face it, the right person can turn a pile of manure into a mountain of gold.

Yet, when you ask somebody why they’re still right where they were ten years ago, the answer is usually the same – “I’m waiting for the right opportunity.” Oh, the “right” one. Got it. Because all those other opportunities just weren’t worth your time, especially the ones that required you to step out of your comfort zone a little and actually … you know, work for it.

Now, that may sound harsh, but if you give it a moment of thought, you’ll realize we all do that to some extent. We want something better, and we know we need to work for it. But work at what? That’s where we get hung up. All too often, we close our eyes to opportunity because it’s not exactly what we were looking for. “What would my friends say?” I don’t know. Are they paying your bills?

To be fair, every opportunity isn’t for everybody. We have to find something that fits our values and, to some extent, our comfort zone. As long as we realize comfort is a constraint that holds us back. It keeps us from trying new things. And that’s okay if you’re happy the way things are. But if you want new things, you have to try new things. That part will never change.

Opportunity is there. The question is, what will you do about it? Will you take advantage of opportunity, even if it’s not exactly what you’d imagined? Will you achieve your dreams, or make excuses? Luck doesn’t just happen – we make it happen. Make yours work for you.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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