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hide and seek: how to find opportunities

"Opportunity is missed by most people 
because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

Thomas Edison

 

 

Opportunities are everywhere. You know this. I know this. But then why does it sometimes seem so hard to find them? So often we say we want more opportunities and, yet, we do not know where to find them. Whether you are searching for opportunities for your career or for a new relationship or for some chance to succeed, the key to finding opportunities is to realize that, much as you might want them to, they're not going to magically appear. 

 

As I've taken a look around, with the idea of opportunities in mind, I’ve discovered that most people are not finding opportunities because they're not looking for them. Simple, yes, but so true. Think about a game of hide-and-seek. What if you were the seeker and you decided that, instead of looking for those in hiding, you would just plop down in a comfy chair and whine, “Why can’t I find anyone? Where are they?” Certainly it would be no surprise that you didn’t find anyone if you were just sitting there complaining. And that’s what so many are doing. People everywhere are sitting in a comfy chairs and wondering why they don't have more opportunities. What we must realize is that opportunities are hiding everywhere. And it’s up to us to seek them out.

 

Many, as they continue to do what they've always been doing, are wondering why they haven’t come across any amazing opportunities in a miraculous twist of fate. It seems to me that sitting around wondering why opportunities aren't popping up everywhere is equivalent to, in a game of hide-and-seek, wondering why someone wouldn’t choose to hide right in front of the chair where you're sitting. eyes half-covered and counting to ten. Hiding in obvious places just isn't how the game works. Just like those hiding in a game of hide-and-seek, opportunities might be nearby, but they’re not necessarily going to be right there in your line of vision. You have to turn your head. You have to get out of your comfy chair and look around in order to find them.

 

While I'd certainly advise going in search of opportunities, I don't think it's a good idea to go on a search without a plan of attack. For this reason, I've developed a plan to help you find opportunities -- wherever they may be hiding. You know they’re there, hiding, waiting to be found, and it's up to you to get up and search for them. So here’s the plan…

 



…be open.

 

By being open, you will expose myself to all kinds of people. Strive to listen openly, think openly, and make choices openly. And do what you can to strive to live a limitless life, taking no ideas off the table and thinking of every experience as a potential opportunity.

 


…be proactive.

 

By being proactive, you're choosing to take the search for opportunities into your own hands. You're not waiting around for someone to grant a wish or save you. You're looking around, opening your eyes, and being active in your quest for opportunities. 

 


…be social.

 

By being social, you will engage with more types of people and increase your exposure to networking opportunities, which is a great way to find new opportunities. By attending more work events, more social functions, and more family gatherings, you'll open yourself up to opportunities that would otherwise be hidden from you.

 


…be watchful.

 

By being watchful, you are keeping a keen eye on everything, knowing that opportunities can be hiding anywhere.You never know when you might come across a clue that will lead you to the opportunity you've been waiting for. Because of this, keep my eyes and ears open always.  

 


…be creative.

 

By being creative, you're work to think of new and innovative ways to find opportunities. Certainly the internet and social connections are great ways to find opportunities, but other ways can you make opportunities for yourself? It’s possible to create them if only we put some effort into it.

 


…be positive.

 

By being positive, you'll remind myself that finding opportunities takes time. As you know, they can be very good at hiding and it's up to you to be clever and diligent in your search for them. Being positive will remind you that, no matter how long it takes, you will find them.

 

 



As I noted before, finding opportunities isn’t always easy, but it is always possible. Opportunities are everywhere. We just have to know where to look and we have to be persistent in our search. It’s a game of hide-and-seek, but there are lots and lots of opportunities hiding everywhere, making it pretty likely that, as long as you get out of your current comfortable position and have a look around, you’ll find one that's perfect for you.

 

How do you look for opportunities?
What suggestions would you add to the ones I mentioned?

 

Reader's Note: Did you know there was a FREE download on Positively Present earlier this week? If you haven't had a chance to grab my FREE download, check it out the post and get your FREE PDF copy of "Words To Live By".  


5 ideas for putting knowledge into action

 

"It is necessary to combine
  knowledge born from study with
  sincere practice in our daily lives.
 These two must go together.”

Dalai Lama

 

 

“That’s not a very positive thing to say!” and “It doesn’t really seem like you’re living in the present right now…” These are the types of comments I get from close friends and family members these days. I suppose these words are what I deserve for writing a blog about living positively in the present moment and not always practicing what I preach. As I’m sure you know, it’s so much easier to read books and blogs and articles about positivity and happiness than it is to actually practice positive thinking all of the time. It’s so much easier read than done…

But without all of the reading, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the latest information and I wouldn’t even consider practicing most things because I wouldn’t be aware of them. I might have an idea, some great thoughts of my own, but I wouldn’t have nearly as much insight as I have because I have read and researched and learned about new ways to be positive.

As the quote above says, you need both the knowledge and the action. You need to learn and you need to do. This -- as I know from experience -- isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s flat out hard. You can read about almost anything, but it’s a great deal more difficult to actually put that information into action. I often find myself wondering how I can balance all of the great information I learn with actually doing the things I’m learning about. After reading the Dalai Lama’s quote on Twitter, I started giving this topic some more thought and here are some ideas I came up with for incorporating knowledge into our daily lives…

 

  1. Tell someone else what you learned. When you spread the word about what you’ve learned, you’re not only introducing others to a new topic, but you’re also reminding yourself of what you’ve learned. Every time you repeat it, you’re ingraining the idea more and more into your mind. The more you tell others, the more likely you’ll be to remember it. The more you remember it, the greater the chance that you’ll put the ideas into action.

 

  1. Take notes on what you’re learning. Just like you used to (or still) do in school, taking notes on what you read is a great way to commit ideas to memory and to gain a better understanding of them. After you learn something, write it down somewhere. Make a list of what you want to do, add the action you want to take to your To Do list, or schedule time on your calendar to focus on your new course of action. Putting it in writing will make it more concrete and make it more likely that you’ll actually follow through.

 

  1. Incorporate ideas into your routine. If you want to practice something or explore new knowledge in an action-oriented way, find a way to incorporate it into your daily (or, at the very least, weekly) routine. Take action first thing in the morning if you can to make sure that you don’t end up putting it off later in the day. If you need a little motivation, ask a friend or partner to take action with you. If you make your action part of your routine, you’ll be a lot more likely to stick with it. As I mentioned in #2, putting the action you want to take on your calendar can really help you to actually follow through with it.

 

  1. Post reminders of ideas everywhere. Whoever invented the sticky note was a genius. You can write anything you want on those little pieces of paper and put them anywhere! Write a phrase (or a few phrases) that will remind you to take action and post it everywhere. Post it in your car, on your mirror, in your office, on your fridge—anywhere you’ll be likely to look and be reminded of the action you want to take.

 

  1. Keep learning about the topic. The more you learn about a subject, the more space it takes up in your mind. (I’m not sure if this is a fact, but it seems to be that way in my experience.) The more space something takes up in your mind, the harder it is to forget about it. Therefore, it’s best to keep learning more about what you want to be knowledgeable about. The more you learn, the more you’ll think, and the more likely you’ll put these thoughts into action.

 

When I first read the quote on Twitter, it really spoke to me because I know how hard it can be to put words and ideas into action. I spend a great deal of time learning, but not nearly enough time practicing what I’ve learned (and what I preach about on my site). The quote inspired me to give this topic some thought and I truly thinking the tips I’ve come up with will help me put the inspiring ideas I come across into action because, as the Dalai Lama said, these two must go together.

 

How do you take what you've learned
 and put that knowledge into action? 

 


60 lessons i've learned from my mom

"What we love we shall grow to resemble." 

Saint Bernard



On my mom's birthday -- today! -- it's hard for me not to reflect on what an amazing person she is. Not everyone is lucky to have a mother and few are lucky to have a mother like mine. As with most people, I have a few people in my life who really inspire me, and my mom is one of those. Throughout my life, she has always been there for me -- inspiring me and caring about me and encouraging me -- and I couldn't be more grateful to have someone like her in my life. Not only has she always been there for me, standing by my side no matter what crazy phase I was in, she's also been teaching me some great life lessons. She may not realize it, but she's taught me so much -- SO much! -- and I will be forever grateful for that. Today, on my mom's special day, I thought I would share those lessons with you so you could benefit from my mom's wisdom. 
 


60 Lessons My Mom Taught Me
  

  1. Be generous with others. Anyone who knows my mom knows she's one of the most generous people in the world. She's always happy to lend a hand or help someone out if she can. It's from her that I've learned to be (or tried to be) a giving person. 

  2. Live in the moment. Throughout my life, my mom has always shown me how to embrace the present moment. She never seems to dwell on the past or stress overly about the future. She is one of the few people I know who really knows how to live in the now. 

  3. Strive to be patient. Between dealing with me, my sister, and my dad, my mom has developed an amazing ability to be patient. This is something I truly admire since I'm not the most patient person in the world. I hope someday I can be as patient as my mom is. 

  4. Open yourself to new ideas. I've gone through some pretty wacky phases in my life, but through them all, my mom has always been open-minded and willing to embrace whatever I happen to be into at the moment, which is a very inspiring quality! 

  5. Support those you love. Through ups and downs, good and bad, my mom has always remained supportive of her loved ones. I'm sure at times it was hard to be supportive of my choices, but she has always been my #1 encourager. 

  6. Look for the positive. Honestly, my mom is the most positive person I know. I strive to be positive, but she is positive. No matter what the situation is, she always looks for the good in it and, more often than not, helps me see the good too. 

  7. Show interest in others' lives. My mom really takes interest in others' lives. Whether it's her best friend or the woman ringing up her groceries at the store, my mom is deeply interested in the lives of others. This is something I really admire and need to explore more in my own life. 

  8. Spend time with your friends. Not only is my mom interested in the lives of others, but she really makes an effort to spend time with them. She has tons of friends and devotes lots of time to them, making her life rich with friendship and love. 

  9. See the good in people. No matter what kind of terrible side I've shown my mom, she always remembers the good parts of me. Maybe it's because I'm her daughter, but I really believe that she seeks to see the good in people, which makes her world much more positive. 

  10. Don't take things personally. My mom knows when to let things go and she recognizes when something I've said or done really isn't about her, but instead is about something going on with me. Not taking things personally is one of the best ways to live a happy life. 

  11. Give more than you get. As I said in point #1, my mom is extremely generous. She's always willing to help out her friends in times of need. Even though she doesn't always get the same thing in return, she's always willing to give and give and give. 

  12. Take a break once and awhile. My mom's a hard worker (and player!), but she knows when it's time for a break. She schedules time for herself and makes sure to take frequent trips to get away for a little while. Life is hard and a break is something we all need every once and awhile!

     

  13. Don't overreact. I have a tendency to overreact, but my mom is not that way. She usually has a very calm demeanor and, when presented with a situation that could result in panic, she takes a step back and reminds everyone to calm down. 

  14. Enjoy your moments. It can be really hard to enjoy the moment, especially if a moment is mundane, but my mom always manages to make the most of her moments. Even if she's doing something that's not so fun, she finds a way to make it enjoyable. 

  15. Remember what's important. My mom has a lot going on in her life (who doesn't?!), but she always manages to prioritize what's important to her. Her friends and family really matter to her and she makes time for them and puts them first. 

  16. Celebrate beauty. My mom is a beautiful person -- inside and out -- and she is one of the people in my life who has taught me to celebrate and appreciate beauty. She notices the beauty in things and, in turn, I've learned to do that as well. 

  17. Notice the little things. In general, moms are good at this. They notice when something isn't quite right and they strive to make it better. Or, they pick up on something small but wonderful and make note of it. My mom's great at paying attention and noticing life's details. 

  18. Make the most of mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes in life, but my mom has taught me to make the most of them. I can remember a time when I was coloring and I make a mistake. Instead of starting over, she suggested we turn my little error into a heart. Brilliant! 

  19. Know who you are (and who you want to be). My mom has always been supportive of my personal development and she's always encouraged me to think about who I am and who I want to be in the future. She's inspired me to work on becoming the best me I can possibly be. 

  20. Never give up. One of the greatest things about my mom is her persistence. If she wants to get something done, she will find a way -- no matter what. As she always says, "Where there's a will, there's a way." I wouldn't believe this if I hadn't seen it come to life in her so many times. 

  21. Do everything with enthusiasm. Being upbeat and positive can be hard, but my mom never fails to greet each day with an enthusiastic attitude. No matter what's going on in her life, she does her best to accomplish her daily goals with enthusiasm. 

  22. Stay true to your beliefs. My mom knows what she believes in and she stays true to those beliefs. It's important to recognize what's important to you and what matters most to you, and my mom has manage to do that -- and to stay loyal to those things that matter most. 
  23. Give yourself choices. Looking for options is definitely one of my mom's strengths. Whenever I find myself in a tough spot, I know my mom will be able to figure out another alternative. She's able to look at life and see choices where others see obstacles. 

  24. Be yourself. Staying true to herself is another one of my mom's great qualities. She knows who she is and she is herself in any situation. It's not easy to be consistent in this way, but my mom is always who she wants to be, no matter what. 

  25. Trust your intuition. As with so many mothers, my mom has an amazing intuition. She knows when something is up. She knows when something has gone down. And, most importantly, she listens to these instincts. My mom has made me see just how important intuition is. 

  26. Speak your mind. Much like me, my mom is no wallflower. If she has an option about something, she'll tell you about it. I love her ability to say what's on her mind and I find it inspiring to watch her speak up for what she believes in. 

  27. Protect your loved ones. One nickname I have for my mom is "Mama Bear" because she will stop at nothing to protect her little cubs. Once she even jumped out of her car in traffic to yell at a driver who had cut me off while I was just learning to drive! 

  28. Surround yourself with what you love. Like so many people, my mom has made the choice to surround herself with people and things that she loves. As I've gotten older, I've realized just how important it is to make the things around you the thing s you love most. 

  29. Practice kindness daily. My mom is, by far, one of the kindest people I know. She's one of those people who does all of the little things to make others' days better, and for that I really admire her. I must remind myself daily to be kind and I hope someday I can be just like my mom. 

  30. Adapt when faced with change. Life is full of changes and unexpected circumstances, but my mom is one of the best adapters. When faced with change, she does what she can to make the most of it. As someone who doesn't love change, I find this quality immensely important. 

  31. Pursue your dreams. No matter what I've been doing, my mom has always, always encouraged me to do what I love. She has always believed in me and she's always helped me to believe in myself. It is because of her that I am writing right now -- because she believed in my ability. 

  32. Accept what you cannot change. One of the reasons I think my mom is so great at adapting to change is because she recognizes when she cannot change a situation and she accepts that. As I said before, she will do her best to get what she wants, but she also knows how to accept what is. 

  33. Donate time and money to others. Because of my mom, I'm inspired constantly to donate and give to others. I know that without her influence I wouldn't be donating clothes every season or providing monthly donations to my favorite charities. She has inspired me and I am grateful for that. 

  34. Give energy to get energy. "Energetic" and "full of life" are two things I would definitely use to describe my mom. She is always full of energy and, for that reason, she gets a lot of energy coming back at her. I've noticed when I give out energy, I always get it back (just like my mom!). 

  35. Make life fun. When I was a kid, my friends always wanted to come to my house and hang out with my mom. Why? Because she's so much fun. Even the most mundane things seem fun when she's around because she finds a way to make them enjoyable, which is a really great way to live. 

     

  36. Express gratitude often. Queen of the Thank You Notes, my mom has never hesitated when it comes to expressing gratitude -- and I've taken on that quality myself. I believe it's so important to express your thankfulness and I can 100% owe the development of this belief to my mom. 

  37. Do what you can with what you have. My mom knows how to make the most of whatever she's working with. Whether it's supplies for a school project or life in general, my mom knows how to take the things she's given and make them work for her. 

  38. Help others help themselves. While, of course, my mom is a huge fan of helping others, she's also really great at helping them help themselves. She's taught me and my sister how to do things so we could do them for ourselves. As great as it is to help, it's even great to help others help themselves. 

  39. Be a good listener. My mom is an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G listener (maybe this is why she has so many friends!), and I think it's such a wonderful quality to have. It can be really hard to listen to people sometimes, but my mom has turned listening into an art. (So much so that even random strangers will confess their life stories to her!)

  40. Don't dwell on negative emotions. With all of our lives comes the good and the bad. My mom is open to experiencing both the positive and the negative, but she doesn't dwell on the negative. As someone who used to dwell so much in negativity, I can really appreciate people who focus on the positive. 
  41. Share your experiences. I think part of the reason my mom is such a great listener is because she's also a great talker. She's open to sharing her experiences with others, which is great. So many people (myself included!) hold back so much, and it's wonderful to see people like my mom sharing themselves with others. 

  42. Say "Yes!" to new things. My mom's a "Yes!" woman. She is open to experiencing new things and trying new things and I love that about her. Many people as they get older become settled in their ways, but not my mom. She's always ready to try something new!  

  43. See the humor in life. Life can be really, really funny -- but only if you're paying attention. My mom is one of those people who, when faced with hard times, knows how to look for the humor in it. And I can remember quite a few times when I was so down and only she could make me laugh. 

  44. Don't be afraid to be silly. My mom is a silly lady, and she's not afraid of her silliness. There are so many aspects of life that require the utmost seriousness, so why not take some time to be silly every now and then? My mom knows how to embrace her silly side -- and helps me embrace mine too! 

  45. Work hard for what you want. Nothing good comes without a lot of hard work, and no one knows this better than my mom. If you really want something, you have to go after it. You have to make it happen. My mom is so inspiring in this way because she has taught me to really go after what I want in life. 

  46. Know when to say "No." As we all know, life is filled with choices. To go or stay? To do or not do? While my mom is usually up for anything, she knows when to say enough is enough. It can be hard to say no sometimes, but my mom has taught me that sometimes no is the only way to go. 

  47. Be adventurous. I'll admit it: my mom is much more adventurous than I'll probably ever be. But that's the great thing about her -- she inspires me to take on adventures too. She's not content to just sit at home (like I am) and when I think about her I want to take on something grand and wonderful. 

  48. Love with all of your heart. Loving can be scary. It can be risky. But my mom has taught me that it can be so rewarding if you put your whole heart into it. My mom is a hopeless romantic and she really does believe in the beauty of love, which, lucky for me, is a belief she's passed onto me. 

  49. Create memories and traditions. Because of my mom, I'm a huge holiday person. I love to get into the act of making memories and creating traditions -- and I owe that part of me completely to my mom. Because of her, I cannot imagine a life without wonderful memories to look back on. 

  50. Encourage others to be their best. Throughout my life, my mom has always been encouraging me to be the best I could be, and often her ideas of what I could be were so much better than my own. It's because of her that I believe in myself and believe that I have the ability to be the best possible me. 

  51. Know which battles are worth fighting. My mom knows how to pick her battles. She knows which things are worth fighting for (or about) and which are worth letting go. I'm still learning this myself, but I'm lucky to have a role model to look up to so that I know that not everything is worth a battle. 

  52. Laugh at yourself. My mom sees the humor in life, but she also sees the humor in herself too. She knows when it's okay to just look at yourself and laugh. Some people have a really hard time seeing themselves as funny, but I really believe it's important not to take yourself too seriously. 

  53. Go the extra mile. Going the extra mile is something my mom is an expert at. She knows how to go above and beyond in almost every situation. It's inspiring to see someone who really does the best she can when it comes to other people, when it can be so tempting to just do the bare minimum. 

  54. Think highly of yourself. Because of my mom, I've learned that it's okay to think you're pretty great. My mom isn't cocky or over-the-top in love with herself, but she is confident. She knows she's pretty awesome and she's taught me that it's okay -- no, great -- to think highly of yourself. 

  55. Appreciate what works for you. Some people go through life very unaware of what's working for them. Not my mom. She knows what's working for her and she focuses on it, a tactic I'm trying to work on every day in my own life. She makes the most of what works! 

  56. Choose your friends wisely. This seems like simple advice, but it's actually very important. Who you surround yourself with says a lot about you, and I've learned from my mom that it's so important to choose friends carefully. Because of her choosiness, she has a great group of friends! 

  57. Know when it's time to let go. It can be really hard to let go, but I've seen my mom let go of even the hardest things with grace. I've seen her send me off to college; I've seen her deal with death. Letting go is very, very hard, but my mom has provided a great example of someone who knows when it's time to let go. 

  58. Forgive others' mistakes. I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, but my mom is always the first to forgive me. I've seen her forgive others too, and it's truly amazing to watch her forgiveness in action. Forgiving can be a very hard thing, but my mom has taught me its value. 

     

  59. Highlight strengths, not weaknesses. Many people aren't even aware of their strengths or weaknesses, but my mom is one of the few that knows what her strengths are and makes the most of them. She knows what she's good at and she highlights those points. (She also does that for other people as well!)

  60. Treat others the way they want to be treated. It's tempting to treat others how you want to be treated, but my mom's selflessness has taught me that it's even better to treat others how they want to be treated. I've learned from her to pay attention and to treat others in a way that makes them feel great. 



As you can see, my mom is a pretty amazing person. She has inspired me in so many ways and she is constantly teaching me new things. She's taught me all of the lessons listed here and so many more and, for that, I will always, always be thankful. Not many people are lucky enough to come in contact with people as great as my mom, let alone have her for a mother so, though I'm trying my best to resist bragging, I must say that I am extremely lucky to have her in my life. Mom, I hope you have the best birthday you have ever had and I hope that every year to come is even greater -- and filled with even more wonderful lessons -- than the last. You know this already, but I'll tell you again: you are always in my heart. I love you to the sky and back.