Here is an interesting idiom, “He who hesitates is lost.” Or “He who hesitates is a damn fool” taken from a dictionary. Interesting, for a dictionary. This phrase appears simple and great, doesn’t it? But then, consider this idiom, “Look before you leap.” Okay??? Seriously, which is it?
Life is far too complex and humans so diverse that attempting to create one liners for direction often does not work. But….we can always depend on ancient wisdom from the good book. One advice it gives is this, “Make the most of every opportunity. ” It accounts for the time you need to take to think, but acknowledges the opportunity as fleeting. So, allow me to share last week’s lesson.
3 Short Stories :
My beautiful, my bread and breakfast, my shining beacon of love and hospitality – my car -broke down on the way to service a client. Of course, I was not happy. So, I walked miles to get gas for my car. Yeah, I forgot to do that. What a mess. As I got gas, there were 3 people who were filling up their tanks and about to head the direction of my car. I could ask them. But, I had to do that within a mere 5 seconds before they left. As I tried to muster up courage within that time, they were gone. So I began walking all the way back.
On my way, I saw an empty transit bus with its driver. The bus was not in service so I could request a ride to my car. Again, it was going in my direction. All I needed to do was say, “Hey, you mind giving me a ride?” But, I hesitated. I thought, what if? This thinking was a bad idea. Why? This open window was for a mere 3 seconds.
Before I finished my thinking in 0.5 seconds, mustering up the courage in 2 seconds, and motioning with my hand to get the drivers attention, the doors shut and the driver was off. What was interesting was the driver waving at me, smiling. As if to say, “Bummer. You were such a sissy, you missed a good ride.” Here again, I missed another one. Was this a pattern?
On Thursday though, something else happened. Across from my writing desk where 3 fine and brilliant ladies talking about the subject of life, divine counsel, and growth (Hello Elsa, Sarah, Allyson, and McKenzie). I felt that wind of inspiration, a touch of direction, a drive of opportunity, His nudge, to go ahead and join the conversation. After all, it was a discussion I really enjoyed.
But, I had but 5 seconds to decide. This time, I could feel the heartbeat of every mini-second that went by. I was aware of it! Time is such a precious thing. Strange enough, within some mini-seconds, I recalled all past instances of lost opportunity. I knew if 5 seconds past and I did not make a move to ask, “Hey, what are you guys talking about? Can I join,” I would have convinced myself otherwise. My mind would have told my heart, “Listen, its a lady thing you hear. Don’t be going about entering into their business. Plus, its going to be weird anyway. You’ll be the only guy. People will be talking.”
So, for 1 sec I thought of the week’s lessons of lost opportunities. For 2 seconds I argued with myself, in the next second, I inhaled the ingredients of spiritual courage. And in the final second, I exhaled the result of a chemical reaction between verbal and non-verbal communication. I raised my hand up, and asked, “Hey, what are you guys talking about?” This was just one second short of losing the chance like I did with the transit bus.
So, I ended up joining the conversation, sharing, listening, and learning. Was it awkward? I….don’t know about that. I thought it was incredible. Hopefully, I made their day a little bit better than I found it. Just another way to live a dream huh? I did get invited to join the discussion this week. Woo hoo. One of my passions is women empowerment and enterprise. So, these are humble beginnings.
Then came the weekend. I needed some extra cash, but decided I wanted to rest during the weekend. Then came an unexpected call from a loyal client. Its my policy not to pick up calls on my day off. So, I didn’t. This client left a voicemail. To paraphrase the voicemail was, “I need help ASAP. Will you be available? I know your policy, but can you help me? I need an answer asap, in a few seconds before I deflect to someone else. I called you first because I prefer you working on this.”
Okay! This must be a pattern. Only a few seconds before she deflects to someone else? What if I was not by my phone. Usually, my phone is off, but for some weird reason, it was on this day. This client knew that but tried anyway. So, why a few seconds? Why not a few minutes?
On the other hand, opportunity appearing at times when I needed it with only seconds to make a move was definitely becoming a pattern. Perhaps, a new mindset to grow into for the river of opportunities gently flowing to me from the future? Hmm…! What was the divine, blessed be He, pointing at here? So, I made the call, but…set my time based on the request. I got paid double and got extra cash. Ironically, I charge for my time differently now. I enjoy being rewarded for the quantity and quality of my work.
Last Week’s Counsel: What I learned
1. A lost opportunity is just that – LOST. You have but a few seconds to “Look before you leap” and “He who hesitates is lost.” Both idioms are true, but only half true. You need both, but in different percentages depending on the context. The lessons I learned are the links in this paradox. The good book understands the struggle. That’s why it suggests,
“Make good use” of every opportunity.
The lesson is simple – you will make mistakes. You will miss it several times. But as you make them, be keen to make good use of them. The mistakes themselves, are the first opportunities you get at the real deal. So, become a master of them.
2. Last lesson – Ask! what’s the worst that could happen? If anything you get a story. Here’s a deeper lesson I learned. Being quite is like being in a wilderness. Questions draw you out of that wilderness into a land flowing with milk and honey – opportunity.
When you ask a question, you leave the place (of hiding in your heart because of fear) and journey out (of that wilderness) into a place of connection (a place where a need, question, fear, is answered or dealt with). Questions draw you out from your inner self into a place of connection and expression: the meeting point between you and opportunity to self-improve or prosper in your life, relationships, and enterprise. Questions also draw others out of their hiding (being quite, shy, etc).
So, if you feel stuck “inside” or “in the past” or “in failure,” start asking some good questions. If you want to advance, start asking some brilliant questions. If you want to connect, ask radiant questions. I leave you with this counsel from a great teacher:
“If all your thinking has brought you to a place where you don’t like, just have another thought. This time, a brilliant one.”
Move and live from there. At each stage, get a better one. I wish you nothing but good health and prosperity as you lay hold of these opportunities flowing to you like a river running free.
~ By Ishmael Asaba (Author and Founder)