Opportunity

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Opportunity = What is Possible?
We often wonder what we are capable of achieving if we applied our best efforts. What helps us to find the limits of our capabilities is to try, and then, we will know for certain. Most people want to know in advance of trying if they will succeed, because it they know they can't do something, then they will not waste their time trying. But life is uncooperative in this regard. Outcomes are veiled until the very end. We cannot know the outcome before the facts are revealed. Very few things in life are certain, except perhaps the laws of physical. The sun will rise tomorrow unless something very strange is happening. All else is largely unpredictable.
In life, we don't know what we are capable of achieving most of the time. The limitations of time, energy, and resources prevent us from trying everything to find out. In order to decide how we will allocate these scarce resources, we attempt to envision our chances of success at anything we might try. Much in life is uncertain. In fact, in the presence of uncertainty, where practically nothing is certain, all one can conclude is that nothing can be ruled out. However, this uncertainty gives us an advantage that most people fail to appreciate. When nothing is certain, and most of life is uncertain, then all possible outcomes are possible, because we have no way of ruling out any outcomes.

When nothing is certain, then everything is possible.

The next time I consider giving up before I even try, I will remember that neither success nor failure are certain. Both are possible. I will only find out what is possible when I make my best effort. Sometimes, intention has its own way of influencing reality for the positive.

There are two ways to view the word opportunity.  One view of opportunity is the insight or discovery of a chance to exchange something you own, such as time energy, and capital for something else of value.    A job is an opportunity, because it represents a formal agreement to exchange your labor for a paycheck. 

A second view of opportunity is the upward potential gaining more or extra rewards than expected from a decision.  Opportunities exist whenever an alternative or its implementation has an uncertain outcome, and the uncertainty has an upside potential.   For example, an oil exploration company drills a hole to find new oil deposits.  On the downside of the uncertainty, there is a risk that the hole is dry.  On the upside of the uncertainty, there is an opportunity that the drilling hits a gusher.   Decision-makers normally enter into a decision with some expectations of what the results will be after the decision is implemented.  When the decision-maker does not have perfect control over the outcome, the results achieved may vary widely from the expected. 

If a decision-maker were to engage in a large number of uncertain endeavors, they should expect to receive some outcomes that exceed expectations and some below.     Over a long period, the average result will approximate the norm or the overall expected result.   However, by taking risk and opportunity into account during decision making and then applying risk management and opportunity seeking strategies during implementation,  the decision-maker's average result should exceed the norm. This is the purpose of this website to support the decision-maker so that he/she receives higher outcomes from their decisions and subsequent implementations.  

"Opportunity favors the prepared mind"

 

Opportunities represent a chance to earn rewards above the norm.  To discover any opportunity, one must be alert and search for them.  Once discovered, an opportunity needs to be shaped so as to maximize its potential.    The simple interpretation of the above quote - "Opportunity favors the prepared mind" - is that opportunity exists only in the mind of the beholder.   A conditioned mind sees opportunity.  To take this notion a step further, different people with differently prepared minds will view the save situation differently.   Each is likely to perceive a different opportunity.   The meaning to each of us is 1) every situation has an opportunity (remember the "lemonade out of lemons" parable), 2) one must look for the opportunity in order to find it, and 3) a conditioned or prepared mind is likely to find what it is looking for.

"Goals Limit Options." - Sure, goals are a good thing...we all need to have some if we want to focus on getting what we want and need.  We just have to be careful that we don't let our goals from the past blind us to current opportunities.  The problem with goals is that they limit us to what we already know we want.  If we fail to stop and look around at what new opportunities are possible, then we are stuck with what we desired in the past.  We missing seeing other good trees in the forest because we have become so focused on just a few of them.   In fact, we are living in a forest of trees, and some are taller and thicker than others.   To limit ourselves to selected goals, this means we have limited ourselves to only what these goals can provide, and ignored all the potential benefits inherent is all other possible goals.   Things change, and we change.   So, our goals should change as well.

Changes in our goals should not be taken lightly.  People hesitate to abandon well-worn goals.  People hate to cut their losses.   The concept of abandonment, after having put considerable time and effort into a goal, is disheartening.   However, cutting one's losses is called "sunk costs" meaning you can't recover what you've already invested but you can shift the resources to something better if the potential benefit is worth what you will lose from not continuing to purse an old goal.

In summary,  You need to continually scan the horizon in search of new and better opportunities, and to abandon those that are less attractive than the new opportunities that are continuously emerging.  

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Website last updated on 10/19/08
Copyright 2005 Charles W. Sooter.  All rights reserved.