The ocean has long been a metaphor for life. As I took in the waves in North Carolina from the back of a boogie board, I learned four things about opportunities.
1) Opportunities don’t always show up when you’d expect
At the start of last year, I wouldn’t have exactly penciled in December 26th as a day I’d be in the water. However, I was nearby (well 2.5 hours away) and the temperatures were relatively warm (seventy-four degrees air temperature) so I took a chance.
2) Small adjustments to what you are looking for shouldn’t be shunned.
Should you take just any opportunity? Most people would say no. The problem becomes in figuring out when the delta (or difference) from your perceived opportunity is “close enough” that you should adjust.
For me, once I had settled into the idea of boogie boarding, I was going to do it sans wetsuit.
The issue was the sixty-four degree water temp and the fact that I’m a wimp. Only my son’s prodding made me buy into spending $7.50 for a full wetsuit.
Good choice or bad? Good. I was cold even with the wetsuit and never would have stayed in the water without it.
3) More chances taken lead to more success.
I spent a couple of hours in the water and caught thirty to fifty waves. My good rides were not at regular intervals, but none of the waves that I skipped riding resulted in any of my good rides.
It’s obvious, right? You aren’t any more likely to get the perfect ride watching waves go by while sitting on the ocean than you are while sitting on the beach.
While we sometimes focus on the people who came up with one idea that was nearly perfect (To Kill A Mockingbird, for instance), far more people have a mix of success and failure.
Steve Jobs had multiple failed ideas during his Apple days; Stephen King was rejected early and often as a writer before hitting it big.
We simply forget the opportunities that didn’t work out for them.
4) Even at the start of a ride, it’s not clear how it will end.
Of the thirty plus rides I took, four of them rode me all the way into the shore. If you could have stopped me five seconds into each ride and asked me to predict if that ride was going to be one of the four best rides of the day, I would’ve probably given you the right answer once.
Some waves with strong beginnings morphed into foam.
While others that seemed timid at the start picked up steam and made an impression.
When have you had an opportunity that worked out better than expected? Share it below in the comments.