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The Opportunity Blind Spot
The value of many things you like in life go up signiﬁcantly when you don’t have them.
An opportunity is no diﬀerent.
Since we established earlier that it is better to create opportunities than to spot them, it is only your ﬂawed thinking that creates a situation where you feel the lack of opportunities.
You might have witnessed so many people around you being handed some phenomenal opportunities. It seems like some people get things so easily. Those people seem to be always at the right time at the right place. These are the lucky ones you think.
Sometimes, you might feel that GOD forgot to include you in that golden list of people who are handed one opportunity after the other – or the mail was delivered late. The train seems to have already left by the time you reached the station.
Don’t worry, you are not alone.
Let me take that back. Actually, you should worry – but not for the reason that we discussed just now, but because you just witnessed what I call an “Opportunity blind spot.”
Let me explain.
Think about it – how do you see opportunities that others have taken advantage of or that have been handed down to them? If I ask you for a description of every such opportunity, you will be able to give that to me. You will be able to highlight the form, size and shape of those opportunities. An opportunity may be a book they wrote, a speech they gave at a prestigious conference, an award they won, a company they created or it may be an adventure they got a chance to participate in. Whatever be the opportunity, it will be glaring enough for you and everyone else to recognize it.
Right as you focus on these life-size opportunities, you will simultaneously witness an opportunity blind spot.
What’s an opportunity blind spot?
It is your inability to quickly recognize the form, size and shape of today’s opportunities a few months or years ago when they were in their embryonic states.
Take the same opportunities that are in question and go back in time. Try to visualize what those opportunities must have looked like to those that capitalized on them?
Most importantly, answer this question:
Would you have recognized the same opportunities if they were about the size, form and shape a few years ago?
If you are not sure, you are deﬁnitely witnessing an opportunity blind spot. Extending the same logic, you can be sure that you are not looking at tomorrow’s opportunities (that are in the embryonic state) right now. These opportunities are all around you, but the size, form and shape of these early stage opportunities can be super deceiving.
In their embryonic state, opportunities may look like “promise of work with very little guarantee of any meaningful positive outcome.”
Adding to this, unfortunately, nobody is even discussing these embryonic state opportunities because they are not “hot” yet. Media is not discussing them because there is really nothing for them to discuss.
If the opportunities that you see are the ones that everyone else is seeing, you are missing a boatload of them. The trick is to train your mind to see “something” now that others will recognize as an opportunity after it’s been fully developed and executed. Until then, we need to be aware of your “opportunity blind spot” and work on retraining your mind.
The late Steve Jobs was a legend when it came to spotting tomorrow’s opportunities. We can think of many products that were conceived by Steve Jobs but the iPad is a classic case. When it was released, it was neither a computer, nor a smartphone but somewhere in-between. Millions of iPads were sold in the ﬁrst few weeks of the launch. Many of my friends bought one immediately. When I talked to many of them, I would ask for the reason for buying one. Most of them didn’t have a good answer except that they really wanted to have one right away. Fast forward a couple of years, people had found MANY reasons to use one and the tablet revolution was in full force. It has become the device of choice for many high schools, at least in the United States. The point – Steve was able to spot this way before it became common sense.
As you look for opportunities elsewhere, don’t forget the biggest opportunity right in front of you.
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