Saturday, July 13, 2002

Go Where You're Looking

Possibility—The state or fact of being possible.
Possible—May come about or take place.
Opportunity—An appropriate or favorable time or occasion. A situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal. A good position, chance or prospect, as for advancement or success.

Sitting at the river's edge watching the powerful flow of water over rocks and around downed trees as it swirls in eddies and plunges from its headwaters can inspire me to think of a world of possibilities. Launching my canoe into that same river can create real opportunities.

When we just talk about possibilities it's often not with the agenda of taking action but merely of dreaming about those possibilities. But in the enjoyment of the dream, we can lose the incentive to turn what is possible into an opportunity. Possibilities are great fuel for conversation but they won't change your life. Only through recognizing a possibility and then taking an action, can we grab the opportunities. Now consider taking just one action, no matter how small, on a possibility. Then take another, and another, and another. Soon you'll notice that you're moving from the arena of possibilities to embracing the opportunities.

One thing I try to do is not separate the possibilities I see in my life from my life as a whole. Within each possibility is a small kernel of opportunity as it relates to my life. I sow that kernel and don't spend my time feeding the possibility dream. Talking about possibilities brings passion to the act of living. But finding opportunities in the possibility adds clarity and allows us to pursue the passion.

Yes, we can remain on the riverbank and discuss and wonder at the possibilities. But the river is going somewhere. There are trees, streams, rocks and trails on the other side waiting to be explored. There are fish to be caught! There are people along that river who have stories to tell about their own opportunities taken. Find the opportunity, the kernel, the essence, in the possibility.

“I learn by going where I have to go.” ~Theodore Roethke

“Wherever you are is the entry point.” ~Kabir

“Opportunity dances with those who are already on the dance floor.” ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

"Opportunity doesn't knock. You knock, opportunity answers." ~American Proverb

"Opportunity is often difficult to recognize; we usually expect it to beckon us with beepers and billboards." ~William Arthur Ward