Carpé diem. Seize the day. We’ve heard these types of sayings before, but how many times do we actually seize the day versus letting it slip by through running routines we’ve long since become used to?
We can all be guilty of letting perfectly good opportunities pass us by, making up excuses of why we shouldn’t do things rather than why we should. It’s easy to stick to what we know. The unknown can be as scary as it is exciting, and sometimes we can let that fear overcome us.
There are always going to be circumstances where doing what we want at a given second is not possible. But when there are no barriers, some may still be tentative and hold back in spite of an opportunity arising. It’s during those moments where we should be careful that we’re not falling in the trap of fear of the unknown or listening to any doubting thoughts.
One of my ‘rules of life’ is to figuratively-speaking open as many doors and windows of opportunity as are available that I feel good about or am interested in. This is because by default of how life plays out, some opportunities may meet a dead and so it’s good to have others that continue to be fruitful. By grabbing opportunities, we offer ourselves more choice. And more choice provides a greater sense of freedom.
Seizing the day and opening your life up to opportunities can also be incredibly fun. It can lead you to new interests that you had no idea you would enjoy. It can take you on a new business venture or introduce you to different types of people with different walks of life. A personal example is when I decided to learn the harmonica. The thought of sitting in a pub learning alongside many others somewhat petrified me. But I discovered a wonderful new hobby and a lovely group of people I wouldn’t have otherwise met.
Another example were the occasions I travelled alone. Moving country or going on holiday. I met many good friends who I’m still in contact with. They were all from such different walks of life – different nationalities, ages, professions, economical backgrounds and religions to name a few. I have learnt so much more about the world as a result.
In terms of opportunity spotting, I feel that as with many things in life, it all comes down to paying attention and raising your hand. Some opportunities come as a result of simply noticing a short throwaway comment that another person has made and asking them if you can help out. It all starts with your engagement with people, situations and the environment.
Of course, we should be somewhat selective with our seizing of the day. Seizing every single opportunity will likely result in burn out from involvement with too many things. Or in nothing being done over the sheer volume of opportunities seeking your attention. Be selective, but don’t say no to things just because they don’t 100% meet your ideals. Sometimes we get to where we want to be by taking the adventurous route – a zig-zag path instead of a straight line. And through our experiences we’re almost always the better for it.
Although daunting, my latest furore in seeking opportunities came in the form of furthering my interest in meditation and mindfulness by seeking MSc courses. I have been out of education for quite a while and wondered if my application statement would have the same winning rhythm to it as the days when I was continuously practicing more formal writing for university coursework submissions. But seizing the opportunity paid off as I received the news yesterday that I had been accepted onto a masters programme. I’m really excited and the opportunity was wholly borne out of following my dreams and not worrying too much about the outcome. Sometimes it is not our decision to make whether we achieve something or not, but it is our decision whether to partake in the first place.
So I encourage everyone to seize the day for opportunities you feel take you closer to a more nourishing and fulfilling life. See what adventures you will travel on your journey of opportunity.
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