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An 'Inside' Opportunity

"Circumstances does not make the man; they merely reveal him to himself" ~ a paraphrase of a quote credited to Greek philosopher Epictetus

"Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity." ~ Wonderful quote attributed to everyone from Donald Trump to modern-day self-help gurus. Does it matter who said it?

Is Opportunity an Outside Job?

We all have the capacity to turn our dreams into reality. Whether it's outstanding career success, outrageous fitness, magnificent wealth or relationships full of passion and happiness - or all of the above and more! - we can ALL accomplish our deepest wishes.

As everyone from Victor Frankl to Stephen Covey have told us, there is a gap between what 'happens,' and our potential reaction to it. We are not our circumstances.When we separate ourselves from circumstances which seem like 'ours' for a moment, we can observe more objectively and see that there is a vast range of potential outcomes, all dependant on our own choices and actions.

An assistant waiter we recently met represents and illustrates beautifully such choices. While on a lovely cruise vacation last week, my sweetheart and I had the pleasure of getting to know this exceptional young man, who embodies so much of what it takes to be fulfilled and successful in this world. For instance:

  • Our waiter at dinner each night, who presumably had to attain a level of service delivery and people skills to get the job, was as dry and unfriendly as they come. He barely spoke with us and was extremely inattentive. Granted, he was a very busy gentleman, but as his salary relies in large part on gratuities, he might have at least attempted to provide gracious service. In contrast, our assistant waiter was a delight in every way, stopping at nothing to ensure we were happy, running around busily but always with a smile on his face and an endearing attitude. As a result, while we tipped the minimum suggested amount to our waiter at week's end, our assistant waiter received a generous gratuity along with a heartfelt thank you note from us. We exchanged contact information as well, and have already connected via email. Interestingly, we did not feel any such connection with the fellow diners at our table, who - coincidentally? - barely paid any attention to the living, breathing staff all around them.

  • When in Las Vegas last fall, we met a cab driver who hailed from El Paso, and had been 'stuck' in Vegas for the past 12 years. "Whaddya gonna do?..." he lamented. Contrast this attitude with that of our wonderful assistant waiter: he hails from Turkey, and wishes to study hotel management in the UK. Having already attempted the mandatory English test once and failed, he took a job on this cruise ship in order to meet people and improve his written and spoken English. Not only was he not deterred by failure, he also took the necessary steps to put himself where he needed to be to learn what he requires. While other crew members were busy complaining about working, this refreshing gentleman uses his spare time to study, and to dream. We know that his dreams WILL come true, because he is making sure of it.

Who are you, and what do your reactions to circumstances reveal to you?...In any given situation, there are people who whine and there are people who ask what they can do to make things better.

What kind of personality - what kind of LIFE - are you forging with your choices?



Jeniffer said...

You are so right about attitude, how you look at the circumstances in your life, making all the difference.
I remember when I was very young, I had a job as waitress/dishwasher/busperson and some-times cook in a small restaurant.
I worked hard, learned great things about customer service, and used what I learned to get better jobs and professional contacts.
It's amazing, how different things look when you focus on opportunities and positive aspects of your life, compared to focusing on only the negative. Whichever lens you choose to see your life through, that is what will magnify.
Excellent points!

HighLife said...

Hi, Jeniffer;

Frighteningly, I'll bet there are STILL people at that old job of yours; the same people! Still complaining about it...:)

That's exactly right - there is always the choice to LEARN, or to complain. I'm glad to be in your company - it's always a pleasure to meet people who see through the positive lens of life!


Angelo said...

hi! is there an email address where i might send info about having you as a featured blogger at peoplejam.com?
thank you,

High_Life said...

Hi, Angelo;

I thought I had answered this elsewhere, but just in case, you can reach me via sma_enterprises@hotmail.com.

Take care, and Happy Holidays,


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