An appropriate or favorable time or occasion. A situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal. Good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.
It sounds like “opportunity” is a good thing we could all use more of. But would more opportunity make any difference?
Five key points on opportunities:
(1) Opportunities are common and abundant.
(2) The biggest opportunities are the least recognized. People are simply used to thinking small.
(3) To recognize an opportunity, you have to know what you want.
(4) The clearer your vision of what you want, the easier you can identify opportunities.
(5) “Opportunity” is only a favorable condition for success. It still requires action to achieve the success. Most people are unwilling to take action and therefore only focus on the imperfections or possible drawbacks of opportunities. In short, they convince themselves that it isn’t really an opportunity, but a cost or risk. Many people only want opportunities without costs or risks. These are generally known as scams.
But there is one big opportunity presented to you that doesn’t involve costs or risk.
You have won the greatest lottery there is. Through no skill or hard work of your own, you were born into the top 1% of the most privileged species on earth at the wealthiest and freest time in the history of earth.
In fact, you are now living far better than the richest, most powerful kings and queens in history. Unlike nearly all of your millions of ancestors, you have unprecedented opportunity, resources, connections, health, safety, and knowledge. You carry the cumulative sum of humanity’s knowledge conveniently in your pocket.
You essentially have every singer, dancer, comedian, entertainer, and performer available to you, on call … without charge … in your pocket.
You can have, do, and be nearly anything. You can go anywhere, learn any subject or skill, and communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime.
You probably even own a cushioned, air-conditioned, heated, throne that effortlessly propels you to wherever you like on highly manicured roadways, accessible from your front door.
You are unprecedentedly safe from violence and disease with armies, police, firemen, and many others actively working to protect you every day. You will live far longer and be far more educated than 98% of people alive today. You can actually say, do, and believe what you like.
By historically incredible odds, you and your family are not at risk from the four horsemen of human apocalypse—hunger, contaminated water, indoor smoke, and malaria—which cause the most premature and avoidable deaths in poor countries today.
In fact, chances are quite good that many of your problems result from too many good things in your life. Too much delicious food from all over the world, too many entertainment options, too many possessions and clothes to care for and organize, too many kind people to connect with, too big a house to clean, too big a yard to mow, or too many fancy products to buy.
As an average person, with the click of a mouse, nearly any item you desire will show up on your doorstep within 24 hours.
You could eat breakfast in snow-covered Boston in the morning and be snorkeling the Caribbean in the afternoon. With the click of a mouse, armies of helpful strangers will jump into action to get you there quickly and safer than a stroll through town.
For any problem or any goal, there are thousands of bright people and companies eager to help you.
That is no small thing.
If we can’t achieve our goals, solve our problems, and be happy here and now, we’re probably not doing this right.
OUR DAILY DISCONNECT
The present, with all of its imperfections, is still unprecedentedly good. Yet, look at the faces of your fellow humans on the train, in their cars, or in the grocery store. Are people generally healthy, happy, energetic, and making rapid progress? Or are they a little flat, unhealthy, stressed, and burned out?
This resignation and discontent complacency is so common that it becomes invisible to us.
The bigger a problem becomes, the less we notice it or even identify it as a problem. It’s just viewed as “reality” or “the way things are.”
Certainly, we’re doing this wrong.
Given our unique and privileged circumstances, we can do far better. That is, greater fulfillment and greater impact in the world.
Any opportunity could always be more theoretically perfect. If you’re waiting for perfection, you’ll be waiting forever. But there’s probably never been a better opportunity than you have today. For privileged first world people, we need to be careful we don’t accidentally become the rich kid who has it all but doesn’t appreciate anything just because we live in a neighborhood with other rich kids.
Consider the possibility that your problems are more solvable, your goals more achievable, and your excuses more bullshit than you’ve been assuming.
You may find that you’ve been selling yourself short by thinking too small about what is possible for you.
What are you going to do with your incredible opportunity? How can you avoid losing awareness of it and letting it slip away?