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The secret to success: Attracting, recognizing and seizing opportunities

Welcome to the New Year, another 365 days, another opportunity to be grateful, live, and succeed, whatever success means to you. However, the secret to your success in life is you, your mind, the way you see opportunities and seize them. One of life’s basic laws is that opportunities will always exist for those who recognize and leverage them. The fortunate are simply those who can recognize opportunities and have the will and impetus to take advantage of them. Such was the story of Amelia Earhart.

Amelia Earhart aspired to be a fantastic aviator. But it was the 1920s, and people still believed that women lacked “the right stuff.” Despite her burning desire to fly, she couldn’t make a living as a pilot, so she became a social worker. For years, she cheerfully gave her all in service to others. Nonetheless, her desire to fly never faded, and she took advantage of every opportunity to do so when time and money permitted.

One day, the phone rang, Amelia answered and the person on the other end of the line said:

“We have someone willing to fund the first female transatlantic flight, Ms. Earhart. Our first choice has already withdrawn. However, you won’t get to fly the plane, and we’ll send two men along as chaperones. And guess what, we’ll pay them a lot of money while you get nothing. Oh, and you might die while you’re doing it.”

If that doesn’t sound like the worst job offer ever made, I don’t know what does. But guess what Amelia did. She instantly accepted the offer. And of course, she didn’t only fly across the Atlantic Ocean, she flew the plane alone all the way. Why? She had an undying passion and knew how to recognize and seize the opportunity when it showed up.

You see, life isn’t always fair, and frankly, it might never be, but those who get ahead are the people that are willing to go the distance no matter the challenge. They understand that opportunities do not come on golden platters. They recognize that opportunities come as problems and challenges, and they have the ability to sift through the ‘problem chaff’ towards reaching their goals.

How to recognize opportunities

i. Identify those that have something you want: In business, this could be your competitor. What do they have that you want? You can learn a lot about your competitors by watching them and studying their marketing and business activities.

ii. Identify what you want and boldly go for it: This is the principle of recognition. That is, the moment you clearly define what you want and create a visual image of it in your mind, you’ll begin to recognize it every time it comes your way. Then you should take targeted actions towards it.

iii. Be on the Lookout for Problems: Earhart recognized that her opportunity for flying an aircraft was presented to her as a problem and she paid little attention to the problems; rather, she was fixated on the opportunity being presented to her. She didn’t care for the conditions to be perfect; she knew that she could make it work once she got started.

The secret to success

Success is rarely a matter of skill or talent. More often, it’s the result of recognizing opportunities and seizing them. As most successful entrepreneurs in history prove, success is never the result of waiting around for the right opportunity to fall on your lap.

Read also: Succeeding against all odds!

Life responds to people that take action. Earhart understood that people who excel at something—whether it’s flying, making medical or scientific breakthroughs, or breaking sports records, even professional or financial gains—don’t defy the odds by standing still or waiting for just the right confluence of events to occur. Instead, you must begin. Ideas don’t come out fully formed. Opportunities don’t come fully formed. They come in bits and half-baked. Therefore, the onus falls on you to seize them and take them to completion—what you desire.

There are two types of opportunities: those that you recognize and can immediately capitalize on, and those that you recognize but are beyond your immediate grasp. Hence, it’s the last category that you need to develop a robust and long-term strategy, for preparing ahead.

When you do recognize and pursue an opportunity, you’ve proven to yourself that you’re a go-getter who can seize and capitalize on something new and seemingly difficult or impossible. This achievement is especially satisfying, as it means that you’re doing everything possible to expand your capacity.

In my book, Unlock: The Secrets to a Winning Life, I laid down principles and strategies that will enable you to attract, recognize and seize opportunities for a winning life. Our existence, much like the earth’s structure, is divided into two broad categories: the inner core (containing your perspectives and capabilities) and the outer core (containing your possibilities and opportunities).

So, if you’re growing impatient with how long it’s taking to achieve your own goals, don’t just sit around whining. Don’t get frustrated or irritated when people in your life criticize your decisions or your tenacity. Instead, resolve to seize the opportunity when circumstances present one or more and leverage them to move in the direction of your dreams; and commit to always keeping your gaze forward.

Happy New and Successful Year!

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