I recently read a story about Mark Zuckerberg the founder and current CEO of Facebook. He has reportedly invited five people during his student days to his Harvard dormitory room to discuss a business opportunity. Only two people showed up and they got involved with the project. Today those two people are billionaires. Dustin Moskovitz is worth an estimated $6.5 billion and Eduardo Saverin $3.4 billion. I am sure that the other three that did not turn up will constantly be asking this perennial question – what if we were part of the genesis of Facebook? Nothing is more expensive than a closed mind and a lost opportunity.
I do not know about you, but in my own life I can recall many opportunities that I allowed to pass by and regrettably those choices costed me dearly. I would have been in much better shape if I invested more time in my education when the scholarship was up for the taking, not being too overly risk averse when some very lucrative business deals came my way, being more available to the kids when they were still young; now the nest is empty and I missed quite a few milestones given my previously hectic schedule, being more disciplined in my saving habits, investing more time in nurturing solid friendships……. quite a thought provoking list.
Jackson Brown once said “Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.”
WHY WE LOSE IT
Nothing great ever happens without an element of risk. We always like to have a sense of certainty, yet certainty is like a mirage. Life is about taking risks, well calculated risks. We all agree that someone needs to take the first step but normally respond by saying as long as it’s not me. In the process we do not live to our true purpose.
Each one of us has been given a unique assignment or purpose in life as well as the necessary gifts and talents to engage in productive endeavours. Unless you have a clear understanding of why you are here, then you are going to lose out on many life defining opportunities. Allow me to just highlight some of the reasons we lose opportunities:
- Laziness: Nothing will just fall into your lap; every opportunity needs to be activated through diligent effort. Sometimes it might necessitate a season of preparation and sowing the appropriate seeds in anticipation of a harvest. This requires work.
- Fear: The paralysing effect of the fear of possible failure, can cloud one’s objectivity towards new possibilities. Failure and setbacks have the potential to create tremendous opportunities for growth in critical areas like perseverance, patience and character.
- Familiarity: Some people in our existing circles as precious as they might be, can become predictable in their responses. This can have the adverse effect of holding us back in pursuit of our dreams because they might merely not have anything new to offer to assist us in moving forward.
- Overstaying your brief: Sometimes we hang on to a position and merely maintain the status quo in that environment. It takes courage to let go and explore new territories. Be sensitive and have a sense of discernment because God can at times open a door for what is next, when you least expected it. I would never have been exposed to the many life changing opportunities in the various leadership roles I occupied if I hanged on for dear life to what I regarded by then, as a very successful political career.
- Exaggerated expectations: Some people are always on the lookout for the great and spectacular stuff. In the process they lose out on the small things that holds great potential for positioning them into a niche space. Great opportunities are always disguised in small packages. Sometimes the little things in life are stepping stones to the big opportunities. Have a sense of awareness and live in the moment.
Through God’s grace I was able to successfully navigate through quite a lot of obstacles in my life. Mistakes, yes they are countless. Lost opportunities; honestly quite a number. But on the occasions where I siezed the moment, my life has irrevocably been transformed and my potential has been stretched. My biggest challenge moving forward, is to live my life in such a way that one day when I slow down on my normal routine and exit from my current portfolio of leadership responsibilties, I will not be tormented by the statement – If only…… As someone once said that an opportunity of a lifetime must be taken in the lifetime of the opportunity. David’s words in Psalm 90 : 12 (TPT) is quite instructive in this regard ” Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set your wisdom deeply in our hearts….”
You have one life to live, live it now!