Oops, There Goes Another Opportunity

MarilynDavisatTIERSStarred Page By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 17th Feb 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/sw9o1fa-/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Personal Development>Self-awareness

“Allowing yourself to be a conduit for opportunity requires a brand new outlook on life. Lady fortune cannot enter a locked door, you know. And contrary to that well-known saying, she has rarely been known to knock” ― Chris Murray

What is an Opportunity?

An opportunity is an appropriate or favorable activity, time or occasion; it is a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal, a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success. However, opportunities also offer us an opening to be a better person or to change within.

Sometimes, an opportunity is only a matter of perspective. Whether this story is true or not, it illustrates my point perfectly, “There is a funny story I always tell my students...when I came for the first time to the US. I didn’t speak English (Only Spanish) & I saw on every door the word “exit” which in Spanish means Success = Exito.

And then I said:”No wonder Americans are winners, every door they take leads to success” ~smile :)” ― Pablo

Why Do We Have so many Missed Opportunities?

Missed Opportunities are the times we fail to capitalize on the activity, occasion, situation or circumstances that would better our lives or ourselves. Each of us has missed opportunities or not taken advantage of an opportunity often due to self-defeating behaviors, including our fears.

This article is not about how many choices, options and opportunities we have and we simply chose to do A instead of B, it is about the inability to take advantage of either A or B.

When you have a choice between two alternative options, there may be minor regret in not taking advantage of both. However, the disappointment may be short-lived if you can simply postpone the other opportunity because you still have that choice.

This is about the inability to experience even the isolated, singular opportunity. If you find that opportunities come your way, yet you do not seem to be able to take advantage of them, look for your patterns of:

• Self-defeating behaviors preventing you from taking advantage of the opportunities
• Cost: What have these Missed Opportunities cost you; it is not always financial
• Short and Long-term consequences

When you can determine your patterns, then you have a different kind of opportunity – breaking the cycle of self-defeating behaviors.

What Kinds of Opportunities Do People Miss?

The opportunity categories may be different for each person, though the reasons for missing an opportunity are often similar. If you really want to understand your Missed Opportunities, then you will have to evaluate the self-defeating behaviors, what they have cost, as well as the short term and long-term consequences of missing opportunities.

Examining Your Self-defeating Behaviors

It is sometimes a painful process to look at actions, attitudes, and behaviors. Many times people know “I did something wrong” and that is as far as they get. Take the time to get familiar with different types of self-defeating behaviors to see which ones cost you opportunities.

What Kinds of Behaviors Cost Us Opportunities?

In general, a self-defeating behavior is:

Any behavior, thought or action that prevents you from taking advantage of the opportunities
• Any behavior, thought or action that prevents you from reaching your goals
• Any behavior, thought, or action that costs you money, relationship, position, or status
• Any behavior, thought or action that gets you consequences you do not want to experience


For most people, the real problem is that many of their familiar and comfortable actions, attitudes, and responses to what life offers, can be self-defeating. These do not get them positive outcomes. Typically, there are going to be several self-defeating behaviors in any opportunity.

For example, say you had an opportunity to be a cheerleader or play sports in high school. These activities would have given you exercise, a social network, and perhaps even some prestige at school.

Yet, both of these would have required that you practice, be on time for the practice, show up for the games, and give up sitting with your friends in the stadium.

Instead of the doing the work required, you procrastinated and showed up late for practice. You assumed you were good enough that your lateness to be overlooked. You were conceited and arrogant enough to think that you could just follow the moves of the cheerleaders or instinctively know a game play and be okay.

You Forgot To Remember What Was Important

These actions and attitudes were not okay and you were put on probation – either show improvement or be dropped. You followed the notice to improve and were doing better until you got jealous seeing your friends in the stadium and so you quit.

As you can see in the example, there are several attitudes, actions, and feelings going on that created the problem.

Look for the Patterns

Once you start to isolate your own individual Self-Defeating Behaviors, you will notice a pattern. Let us assume that you are arrogant and think that your way is always right, or you do not like people telling you what to do. How might these patterns from young adulthood play out today?

Arrogance has probably cost you jobs, which may or may not cost you loss of income; or the consequence may be that your family is homeless. This in turn may have cost you a relationship with your spouse who packed up the children and moved out.

For some people, determining how long a pattern has been operational is equally eye opening and can be motivation to change.

What Else Would Motivate You To Change?

Realizing what your familiar behaviors have cost you can motivate you to change, or you may still be willing to pay the costs and receive the consequences of your actions, thoughts and behaviors. If that is your choice, then there is very little likelihood that you will adopt new and better behaviors and attitudes.

To change your self-defeating behaviors, you first have to identify them and then make the decision whether or not to continue operating from them. This is a critical choice.

It is easier to make the decision to change when you actually see how much it has cost you or the negative consequences that you have received.

What Do These Self-defeating Behaviors Cost?

People often think in terms of monetary costs, however, a cost is a sacrifice, price, additional labor, effort, or an expense. It is not just about money.

What are Predictable Short and Long-term Consequences of Missed Opportunities?

Consequences, both positive and negative are the result of an action, outcome of a situation, or the effect of an action. Short and Long-term consequences are the outcomes of your missed opportunities. These are what you got instead of the opportunity.

Unfortunately, if you are still willing to pay the price, or the consequences of missing an opportunity do not significantly affect you adversely, it is unlikely that you will change the self-defeating behaviors.

Consequences of a Missed Opportunity

However, just reviewing some predictable short and long-term consequences might just get your attention and let you think about changing the self-defeating behaviors that get you less than favorable results.

Breaking the Patterns of Mechanical and Habitual Behaviors

If you realize that you often regret your decisions based on your outcomes and consequences, then you might be ready to change the patterns of self-defeating behaviors. Rather than finding that this quote from Harriet Beecher Stowe aptly describes your life, then put effort into changing.

“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”

It is the process of first identifying your Missed Opportunities and self-defeating behaviors that allows you to change. It takes time to break a habit of behavior, thought and action. The habituated or mechanical way of doing things might be something to look at today to have more likelihood of taking advantage of that next opportunity that comes your way.

After all, it might even be today and you would be better prepared to capitalize on it rather than adding yet another missed opportunity to your life.

Post Script

Rather than just preaching about chances and change, I took my own advice and used the concepts yesterday. I ended up with the following opportunities just running errands.

I had an opportunity to:

• Consolidate all of my errands into one trip with some organization.
• Save money by making one trip rather than two or three without planning.
• Say, “Hello” to people I met in the aisles.
• Help an elderly man find an item at a lower price.
• Learn about a new tea when I asked the clerk if they had any new brands while he was stocking.
• Engage in a conversation about a new restaurant with the clerk, when he told me about his family opening one. He then told me to use his name to receive a discount.
• Return the shopping cart of an elderly woman. Twenty-seven paces to return, twenty-seven paces back to my truck, meant I had the opportunity to add fifty-four paces to my own goal of walking more daily.
• Ask the librarian if they had any books similar to ones by authors that I liked. I took my list and she added several that I am now reading.
• Ask the dry cleaner if they ever ran specials on rug cleaning and would an antique tapestry count for that discount. She reached under the counter and gave me a 15% discount card to use any time.

I did not want to fall victim to the portrayal of most people from Winston Churchill when he described many of us, “During their lifetimes, every man and woman will stumble across a great opportunity. Sadly, most of them will simply pick themselves up, dust themselves down and carry on as if nothing ever happened.”

Challenge

Take one day this week and see what opportunities you encounter. More importantly, see how many opportunities you can create.



For additional articles by Marilyn Davis

Each person has a unique voice and Wikinut is a place for you to share your wisdom, humor, insight and knowledge. Join, write and become connected to others who share a passion for writing, supporting one another, and learning on Wikinut.


Credits
Options, Important, Chance and Change: www.pixabay.com
All other images: Marilyn Davis

Tags

Chances, Changes, Changing Behaviors, Choices, Daily Opportunities, Missed Opportunities, Missing Options, Self-Defeating Behaviors, Take Advantage Of Opportunities

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
17th Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Mark; thank you for moderating and the star. I appreciate both. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Mariah
17th Feb 2014 (#)

Hi Marilyn
As you write here, there are so many things that present us with opportunities, and we don't want to live to regret not having taken them, from however small to the bigger ones.
A good read, well presented.
Thank you.
p.s. I like your title!!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
17th Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Mariah; thanks for the reminder about regrets. I have been trying to work on titles, so I appreciate the encouragement. Thank you also for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
17th Feb 2014 (#)

I know that I have made big and small wrong choices and missed opportunities that I have lived to regret Marilyn...but after repenting of those situations ...I have been able to move on , and I can truthfully say I am not living in the past or the disappointments anymore ..
Now I am quietly content .. A good place to be .
God bless you my friend .
Stella ><

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
17th Feb 2014 (#)

Good afternoon, Stella. You are a fortunate person to have realized your errors, repented and moved on. Sometimes people still just do not take advantage of the simple opportunities to lend a helping hand, be courteous, or helpful. We all get so rushed sometimes that we do not take the time. Glad you are in a good place, Stella. ~Marilyn

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
17th Feb 2014 (#)

much great information here many thanks...
I do believe that a million opportunities knock on the door all the time...we just need to be aware of their happenings...

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author avatar spirited
18th Feb 2014 (#)

"More importantly, see how many opportunities you can create."

a good challenge indeed, many of us are probably like me, who just wait for opportunities to arrive, without trying to create any.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
18th Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Spirited. That surprises me, I would think you create them often. Maybe you just see them but do not seize them. Thanks for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
18th Feb 2014 (#)

Great article about opportunities!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
18th Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Phyl - Thanks. And you used your Writer of the Day as a great opportunity to be funny and informative. Commented on it as well. Thanks for yours. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
19th Feb 2014 (#)

Nice post and informative as well!

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author avatar Retired
19th Feb 2014 (#)

Encouraging post, Marilyn. Opportunities do tend to fly right by most of us, but every now and then, one does land on us. It is up to us to seize the opportunity or not. On the other hand, why wait for the fly-by? Create your own opportunities and take it from there.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
19th Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Mike, yes, they do happen more often than we realize. Taking advantage of them is easier if I am mindful of looking for them. That day was just another of my random experiments and it was worth it. Thanks for the comments and adding to the idea. ~Marilyn

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
19th Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Fern; I'll take this opportunity to thank you for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
23rd Feb 2014 (#)

Another insightful post that touches the lives of almost all, thanks Marilyn. I tend to get ensconced in comfort zones and allow opportunities to pass by. But I do not know whether I would change much in my life that I have lived so far.

As an aside - a smart Alec of a salesman knocked on the door. When asked who it was, he replied smugly - OPPORTUNITY. Then he got a reply - it cannot be as opportunity knocks only once! siva

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
23rd Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Siva; I like that story. Sometimes we do not recognize opportunity because of how it looks. I think opportunities are just testing us, will we take advantage of it, or will we pass it by as it looks odd. Sort of like staring to write here at Wikinut. Who knows what opportunities are here - other writing jobs, friends, learning platform - lots of opportunities if we just are open to them. Thanks for your comments. ~Marilyn

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