When Opportunity Arises, Err on the Side of Caution

by S.A. Prince

Thank you for your emails. I am taking a break from my book to write this article, because, well, I don’t want you to feel neglected. In a dashing effort of appeasement, and because I need to read this myself, I’d like to touch on opportunities.

If you’re like me, and I’d like to think that most of my readers are, then you are working hard every single day and are creating good fortune in the process. Your boss is happy with you, you’re making the right connections, and things seem to be on the up-and-up. But, something is missing. WHERE ARE THE OPPORTUNITIES AT? Can you raise your hand with me if you’ve done all the above, and still, AND STILL, an opportunity has yet to come your way? Some of you, not all of you but definitely some, share this frustration with me.

This is a dangerous time.

This moment and the decisions that you make are going to set your floor and your ceiling for the next decade. Stop any and all fragmentation, and pay attention. Focus on this part. Let me explain what a floor is and what a ceiling is as these concepts relate to a person’s potential.

A floor is the lowest possible point of realized potential a.k.a accomplishment. If a person does their absolute worst or near it, then they have essentially hit their floor. Out of all that they could have accomplished, they did the least. You are at expected to at least hit your floor, though there are times where people don’t even do that (For example, in sports these people are referred to as “busts.”)

A ceiling is the highest possible point of realized potential. If a person does their absolute best or near it, then they have essentially hit their ceiling. This means that they have accomplished all or most of their expectations. A person is not expected to hit their ceiling, but is expected to get as close to it as possible.

Further explanation to help drive the point home:

All things considered equal, meaning these people have similar levels of ability: Person A has a low floor and a low ceiling, meaning they have a very little potential. Person B has a high floor and a low ceiling, meaning that they have even less potential than the aforementioned Person A, but if both Person A and Person B hit their floors, then Person B would have accomplished more.

How does this relate to opportunities? The opportunities you take will affect your potential. Every opportunity isn’t necessarily the correct one for you. Likewise, the deal you get isn’t the deal you think you’re getting. So, it is a dangerous time when you are working hard and an opportunity has yet to present itself, because your willingness to jump at the first opportunity that comes across heightens, and that may not be the opportunity for you.

There is a misconception around opportunity, and that is, like lightning opportunity strikes once so jump on it quickly and while you can. That is wildly inaccurate. While it is true that you should, as motivation speaker Eric Thomas says, “Take advantage of an opportunity in the lifetime of the opportunity,” that does not mean it will only strike once.

Opportunity comes at you in waves. There’s a rhythm to it. The Bible is correct when it says in Ecclesiastes 3, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” There is a time to harvest, and a time to gather. Opportunity will come, and then there will be a dry season. When in this dry season, people desire opportunity so much that when the first opportunity comes, they jump on it, mainly because they don’t know if opportunity will come again. It is a fear driven decision. It is always good to exercise patience. If you continue to work hard and grind through the dry season, opportunity won’t only show itself, but it will do so not once but in abundance.

How do you feel when an opportunity presents itself? You probably feel like I do. Giddy. Excited. Hype. And, what do those emotions push us to do if we give into them? They cause us to rush, to miss red flags, to make mistakes, to make long-term decisions with short-term information.

When an opportunity presents itself, jump on it. Jump on every opportunity, but do your due diligence before you commit. As the title of this article suggests, you need to err on the side of caution. Ask questions, a lot of questions. Don’t just say yes.

Dig deep beyond the surface of the opportunity, and find out why. Why does this guy or girl want to date you? Why does this company want to represent you? Why does this A&R want to sign you to a record deal? Why does this college program want to offer you a scholarship? What’s your relationship? Do they want to simply exploit you? Don’t get it twisted. There’s a reason behind every one of your opportunities.

When you don’t dig deep that’s how you end up in opportunities turned nightmares, the bad relationship (we’ve all had them), the record deal that you can’t get out of (Ke$ha), or the merger that your company entered into that was disastrous (American Online and Time Warner). When opportunities arise, err on the side of caution.



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