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Positive Talk

Opportunity—Some Thoughts
By Bill Hodges
Oct 2, 2008 - 11:11:01 AM

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There are those who would tell you that opportunity knocks but once and if you aren’t at home or don’t get up to answer the door, your chance to achieve success is gone for ever. Shakespeare appeared to lend credence to that theory when he said, “There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” But keep in mind that Shakespeare was a writer of lines for fictional characters and that not all of what he wrote should be taken too seriously. The idea that opportunity knocks but once is just that—a line for a fictional character. It is not something that should control our life.

Should we be ready to answer the door when opportunity knocks? Without question.  But we should be willing to do even more. Charles duBois said of opportunity and timing, “The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” Are you prepared to make that trade right now? Do you really know who you are…your self worth…and most importantly, what you are willing to exchange in your life to achieve?

To be ready for opportunity, I think it is important to first decide where you want to go and then determine if you have the abilities and assets necessary to get you there. I have watched many people over the years set a goal, only to find that they were either unsuited to achieving that goal or really were not committed to the effort required to make the goal a reality. You see, both suitability and commitment are required to make the most out of opportunity, but of the two, commitment is the most important. I have watched many people who, by ordinary standards, were unfit to succeed, but when given an opportunity, because of their commitment and desire, did succeed where lesser men, who may well have had more ability, failed.

Philosopher Eric Hoffer said, “We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. But it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.” A perfect example of this is Jim Abbott, who was born with only one hand. His drive to be a baseball pitcher took him to a starting position on the University of Michigan baseball team and a place on the roster of the Toronto Blue Jays. He never let those who would count him out stop him from achieving his goal. He took advantage of the narrowest of opportunities and developed through hard work the talents necessary to succeed.

Never count yourself out until you do not have strength to get up one more time than you have been knocked down. As long as you continue to work and move in the direction of your goal, you still have a chance of achieving it. Seize the opportunity. I like what Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had to say: “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight. But they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” Work and effort are a very big part of turning opportunity into a success reality.

Milton Berle, the great comedian and consummate performer, once likened his career to a roller coaster. In answer to a reporter who asked what he did during his career lows, Berle said, “If opportunity is not knocking on my door, then it is up to me to build a new door.” That kind of proactive thinking about opportunity and his responsibility to create it for himself led to a show business career that spanned six decades. It is also the best advice I can give you on opportunity. If opportunity does not knock on your door, go build another one. But be sure you are ready and willing to handle it when it comes.

Bill Hodges Hosts “Spotlight on Tampa Bay

Bill Hodges also hosts an interview-format television program, “Spotlight On Tampa Bay.” It airs Mondays at 8 p.m., Bright House cable channel 950 and Verizon cable channel 30. His guests for October 6, 20 and November 3 will be Florida State House Representative Ed Homan, MD from District 60. He is an Orthopedic Surgeon and a professor at USF medical school. Among his assignments in the legislature is sitting on the Committee on Health Innovation. This program will be repeated on October 8, 22 and November 5 at 7:30 p.m. on channel 949.
Appearing on Monday, October 13 and 27, is Florida House District 68 Representative Bill Galvano. Representative Galvano will, among other things, give us his thoughts on subjects covered by the committees on which he serves such as the Select Committee to Protect Private Property Rights. The program will be repeated on Wednesday, October 15 and 29, at 7:30 p.m. on channel 949.
Bright House subscribers who cannot get the higher channels can get—at no installation fee and a monthly $1 fee—a box to allow access to the upper level government and educational channels. Call Bright House for rental details. If you are unhappy about paying extra to see your government in action, complain to your state representatives and the Hillsborough BOCC which have either caused this situation or been complicit in allowing it to continue.

Bill Hodges is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and syndicated columnist. Hodges may be reached at Hodges Seminars International, P.O. Box 89033, Tampa, FL 33689-0400. Phone 813/641-0816.

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Copyright 2008 Hodges Seminars International

© Copyright 2008 by The Observer News Publications and M&M Printing Company, Inc.

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