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To do or not to do so…

“Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.”

– Orison Marden

Really, there is no dearth of opportunities in this world. As the world is getting “flatter” and as the distances are shrinking – more opportunities are opening up.

There are two problems, though:

Not everyone can spot an opportunity

Most people hesitate to jump on an opportunity that they notice

Let us talk about #2.

I am thinking that most of you can spot opportunities as they pass by. I am guessing that some of you may be hesitant to jump on the opportunities that are passing by.

Every week, I meet people who were thinking of doing something interesting. They were almost there. Over the last few years, I have seen people who actually do what they set out to do but a large majority of people only talk but never take any action. The common “excuse” that I hear from those that don’t take action is that they think the timing is not right and when the time IS right, they will definitely take some serious action.

I think you can rarely find a perfect time to do anything significant. Stars won’t align just because you have had a dream. So if timing is your excuse, you will have that excuse for the rest of your life.

The real reason for you to do or not to do something is the story that you are telling yourself.

If your story for doing something is weak, you can be guaranteed about finding a great excuse for not doing that something.

If your story for doing something is super strong, you will start looking for ways to make your dream come true.

Of course, the story alone won’t make your dreams come true but that is where it starts. It is the genesis of your journey towards your dream.

Think about the last time you achieved something significant. Go back to the time you first thought about going after that dream. Think about the story you told yourself. I bet
it was a passionate story that clearly underlined the need for you to pursue that dream.

Think about your current wish or dream. What is your story about this dream? Do you think this story is strong enough to support your pursuit of this dream?

There is no right or wrong answer. You are not proving anything about your story to me. You have to prove it to yourself that your story is strong enough to support your pursuit of that dream.

I was reading Paulo Coelho’s fantastic book “The Zahir“. There is a paragraph on Page 18 that speaks about the syndrome called “Self-esteem Insurance Syndrome” (name made up by me). This syndrome affects many wannabe entrepreneurs and in general, many people who are putting off “identifying their purpose” and taking solid steps towards realizing it. The way I describe the syndrome is simply by not “committing” to what is it that one wants to become. Because if you commit and not get it, you might have trouble with your self-esteem later. So in order to protect your self-esteem sometime in the future, one decides to NOT COMMIT to the dream completely. That way the person is “safely reducing his or her future accountability.”

Here is the paragraph from “The Zahir” that explains it brilliantly

“I continue to search for love, I continue to writing songs. When people ask me what I do, I say I’m a writer. When they say they only know my song lyrics, I say that’s just part of my work. When they apologise and say they’ve never read any of my books, I explain that I am working on a project – which is a lie. The truth is that I have money, I have contacts, but what I don’t have is the courage to write a book. My dream is now realizable, but if I try and fail, I don’t know what the rest of my life will be like; that’s why it’s better to live cherishing a dream than face the possibility that it might all come to nothing“

You can’t say it any better than this. I rest my case.

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