Dan Trathen DMin, PhD Clinical Psychologist & Certified Business & Life Coach

Grasping an Opportunity

By Daniel W. Trathen, D. Min. Ph. D.

No matter what your station or chapter in life, you and I face opportunities grasped and opportunities lost every day throughout every aspect of our lives. We may gloat over the one grasped and regret the one that got away. Opportunity is defined as a chance, especially one that offers some kind of advantage. It is a combination of favorable circumstances or situations, chance, occasion, opening, break, or prospect. Whatever the opportunity, it only becomes a reality when we grasp it. The Greek poet Alcaeus wrote, “Not houses finely roofed or the stones of walls well builded, nay nor canals and dockyards make the city, but men able to use their opportunity.”

A farmer who neglects to plant in the spring can never recover that lost opportunity. Many of us only realize too late that youth is a seeding time, and if this season of life is allowed to pass without sewing good seed, then weeds will take over and choke the soil. It takes a lot of energy to pull weeds and replant the patches in our life.

D. L. Moody described the nature of opportunity this way. “A Sculptor once showed a visitor his studio. It was full of statues of gods. One was very curious. The face was concealed by being covered with hair, and there were wings on each foot.

‘What is his name?’ said the visitor.
‘Opportunity,’ was the reply.

‘Why is his face hidden?’
‘Because men seldom know him when he comes to them.’

‘Why has he wings on his feet?’
‘Because he is soon gone, and once gone can never be overtaken.'”

It is the responsibility of each of us our to make the most of opportunities. Our future rests as a unfinished sculpture before us. We can sow for a good harvest or sacrifice our future to the passing enjoyments of the present moment. If we sacrifice our future we fail or neglect to recognize the dependence of our future upon the present. Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “There is a crisis in every battle – ten or fifteen minutes – on which the issue of the battle depends. To gain this is victory; lose it is defeat.”

While doing research for this article I came across this old poem. The English may be a bite archaic to us, however, the message is timeless.

Yesterday, I dreamed of tomorrow:
In it I saw completion of little tasks;
Little duties, needing but an idle minutes’ gift of time.

I listened, in this dream of mine,
And I heard the sweet piping of tree-top carolers
Piping music grand enough
To make these routine cares, a joy.

And also, in this dream of mine,
I felt the peace of work well done,
Accomplished in those fleeting moments
When hand and heart were stirred by garden harmony.

My dream of yesterday faded:
‘Twas then I realized, and knew,
That yesterday’s tomorrow was today,
And I, this hour, could make my dream come true.
— W. Audrey P. Good

Whatever the opportunity you are faced with today: a better attitude, seeking forgiveness, a more loving relationship, doing what’s right, acting on your morals or values, being true to good character, or seeking a career, think about the future and what you want the outcome to be and grasp the opportunity.