If you pay attention to people that don’t yet have what they want, you will find different varieties of beliefs or mindsets. With nothing more than an observation of what they say and do, you can easily categorize them into two groups. The first group seeks obstacles, the second, opportunities. You need to know nothing else to predict which individuals will succeed in achieving their goals and desires and who will not.
Some people become infected with a belief system that suggests that they cannot overcome the many obstacles that stand in their way, offering a reason why they can’t have what they want. In the worst cases, their beliefs cause them to believe the things they desire for themselves is verboten. No one is born with these beliefs. Instead, other people work to install these beliefs, forcing absolute compliance to those beliefs should one decide not to accept them.
When I was young, I had an experience that caused me to raise my standards drastically. Many of the people I surrounded myself with criticized me as being “too good for the old neighborhood.” Rather than argue otherwise, I agreed with their assessment long enough that many of them eventually told me that they wished they could raise their own.
Those who look for obstacles have no trouble finding them. You can always start with the circumstances of your birth, your broken home, your poor education, your lack of money, your lack of connections, your company, your manager, your clients, your competitors, being too busy, lacking specific resources, pandemics, civil unrest, or politics. Obstacles provide those who seek them with a reason, a “because statement” they can use to absolve themselves of the responsibility for overcoming whatever obstacles stand in their way.
When they don’t give up on themselves, they blame others for their plight, starting a downward spiral of negativity, cynicism, pessimism, struggle and, eventually, nihilism. One of the primary challenges of being negative is that you don’t recognize that you are negative. You have to be very careful what you say to yourself; eventually, what you tell yourself becomes your beliefs.
Where the first group seeks obstacles, the second group seeks opportunities. In searching for those opportunities, they eventually find them. This is true even when those seeking opportunities have the same set of obstacles as the group that searches for an explanation as to why they can’t have what they want. The group that seeks opportunities sees the same obstacles as the adversity that they must push to overcome, growing stronger and more confident in themselves and their ability to find success.
The first group envies those born with huge advantages; the second group doesn’t envy them but feels bad for them that they have never had to overcome any obstacles, leaving them weak and dependent. As much as you might want to believe that success requires a particular set of attributes that most lack, the most significant predictor of success is hunger, a burning desire, a fire in their belly. When this is true, those who are possessed and obsessed search for opportunities.
There are always more opportunities than people chasing them. There is no end to people who need help producing some results and looking for someone they can count on to assist them in reaching their goal. Those who seek opportunities do not believe that any of the obstacles listed above, individually or combined, should prevent them from making a positive contribution when they recognize an opportunity.
Success Breeds Greater Success
One of the most interesting observations about success is how much it breeds future success. When recognizing and taking advantage of an opportunity, your success tends to lead to other excellent opportunities, which in turn, spirals upward to even more valuable opportunities.
A small opportunity allows you to gain some competency that leads to another opportunity, one for which you are not quite prepared. The obstacle that is not “being equipped” for an opportunity causes you to grow, increasing your competency, and preparing you for your next big opportunity. And onward and upward, you go.
In difficult times, it is easy to identify the obstacles while ignoring the opportunities. There are no obstacles that don’t eventually yield to the superpower that is the combination of resourcefulness and persistence. You will find your success will be found in the opportunities available to you now and your willingness to act on them, regardless of any obstacles.
For most of us, the real obstacle resides in the pinkish-gray matter contained inside our thick skulls.
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