Finding, Creating, and Taking Opportunities

I’m fortunate enough to be able to say that I’ve had many wonderful opportunities growing up. Chances to learn, rediscover, try again, travel, explore, grow. At the time, they didn’t seem like such a big deal as I was still too young to appreciate them. Now, more than ever, I keep my eyes peeled for them – waiting for the next opportunity to present itself so I can take it and hoping that I’d be lucky enough to have similar chances as those around me. But one of the most important things I have taken away from doing this is that opportunities don’t always magically appear; it’s not just about “luck”. Sometimes you have to find them where you least expect them, and sometimes you need to go searching for them.

Failures in school, work and all other aspects of life are often very upsetting and discouraging. It can be hard to look past the initial disappointment and move forward, but not doing so can prevent a lot of good things from coming your way. If you are overwhelmed with regret, you likely won’t see the opportunities that follow. If you are quick to give up after something doesn’t go the way you had anticipated it to, you may miss out on something better. Errors and letdowns are just part of life. The key is having faith that even when you didn’t get that internship position you had been eyeing for months, even when your interview leaves a lot to be desired or you never get asked to come to one in the first place – you will have other opportunities.

When you look at disappointments as chances to learn rather than dwell on them, you create a situation for yourself that favors new opportunities. You don’t hope that they come to you, but instead seek them yourself.  This means that even when things don’t work out right and you don’t feel like you ever get any opportunities, you put yourself in a position that allows you to see new and rewarding opportunities where there weren’t any before. In fact, this starts with simply seeing that a failure to begin with is an opportunity for a fresh start in itself. But creating a situation that favors new opportunities also means putting in all the hard work and effort. You can’t create opportunities for yourself when you only choose to go halfway.

Finally, and perhaps the most vital part of looking for opportunities is daring to take them when they arise. Sometimes chances present themselves and aren’t exactly what you were hoping for. Opting to take them is daunting or requires certain sacrifices to be made or it leads you down a completely different path than the one you want your career to take you to in ten years’ time. And yet, you never know what doors they may open. The best experiences can come from those opportunities that you would otherwise be tempted to take a pass at. Opportunities will come to you once you let them, go looking for them, and create them, but the next step is learning to take them.

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