One time back in New York, one person who went to my church applied for a sheriff deputy position in San Francisco. Now, this is going to sound bad, but I was wondering why would he consider being a cop when he was VERY obese! He was shorter than me (I'm 5'9'') and had to be over 300 lbs. So, you just had to wonder why would someone like him be interested in being a law enforcement offer where he would definitely have to be in shape?
"Because it's an opportunity," he said. Nothing else. It was simply an opportunity.
Now, if being a cop was his dream, then I could understand. He could lose the weight, get in shape, and wear that star badge. However, he didn't give any other reasons for applying to the deputy position besides the fact that he saw an opportunity.
Also, he wasn't even that interested in being a cop! When I asked him about his decision, he gave a gesture that showed that being a cop wasn't something that he really wanted to do. But once again, it was an opportunity.
The thing about opportunities is that they are always around! They are always opened to everybody! But this does not mean that you have to go after those opportunities. Some opportunities may seem good at first, but may wind up ruining you.
One of the biggest marketing tactics the U.S. military (army, navy, etc.) would use to recruit individuals is paid college tuition. You serve for a certain amount of time in the military, and you could go to college absolutely for free -- or mostly free. Think about it! Get a bachelor's degree and not have to worry about paying back debt!
So, you've signed up...and then immediately get deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and get killed, burned, lose your legs, etc. Was getting a free ride in college really worth it? You should have left the military opportunity to someone who truly wanted to do it.
The dangerous thing about opportunities is that they look so good! They get you all excited! But if you're not careful, you'll wind up regretting taking an opportunity.
Now, you're wondering, "How would I know what opportunities to take and what opportunities to ignore?" Well, I have a few suggestions for you.
1. Don't jump on opportunities due to frustration. You hate where you're living. There are no opportunities available and the only thing you could do is join the army. Well, don't join the army if that's your attitude. Yes, the army could get you out of your town and open many opportunities for you, but as mentioned above, there are consequences for joining the army. Leave the military to those who want it and for those who accept the risks.
2. Ask yourself if the opportunity coincides with your natural abilities. If you love teaching, don't get a job as a bill collector -- especially if you don't have the personality to be one. And if you're a teacher, only teach the group that you're most skilled to teach. Not everybody could teach pre-school kids. Not everybody could teach those with special needs.
3. See if the opportunity is going to take you forward, not backward (or "sideward"). In life, there is one direction you want to go: forward. You want to be a better man/woman, a better husband/wife, a better father/mother, a better employee, a better teacher, a better lawyer, a better mechanic, a better WHATEVER. If you take an opportunity that would hinder you from being better at who you are or what you do, then it's the wrong opportunity. It's like a former alcoholic taking a job at Budweiser!
4. Would the opportunity hurt people in your family? What if one day I just decided that I'm going to be a cop? My wife would be living in unrest until the day I leave that job. Is the opportunity worth bringing stress on her? Is the opportunity you want to take worth the stress that you'd bring on your loved ones?
5. Does the opportunity involve doing something that you actually love doing? Okay, so maybe your job isn't paying you what you're worth (no job really does). An opportunity comes up to do another job and get paid much more money. However, you'd be doing something that you don't want to do. If you'll be in a job where you can't find satisfaction in your work, then you've taken the wrong opportunity.
Opportunities would always present themselves to you. This doesn't mean you have to take every opportunity. Take the opportunities that would lead you to a better place in life. Take the opportunities that were meant for YOU, not for somebody else.
Yes, when you get frustrated in life, every opportunity looks good. Everybody else's grass is greener than yours. But unless you want to kick yourself in the butt later in life, be careful in what opportunities you jump on. Some opportunities may make your life even more miserable.
And the most important thing about opportunities is that they will ALWAYS come. Back in New York City, when I've missed one train, another one came 5 minutes later (or immediately afterward during rush hour). Unless you were running late, then missing one train wasn't a big deal. You just wait for the next one. But even if you're living in a rural area where a public bus would come every HOUR, guess what? You still have an opportunity to get on another bus.
Be willing to pass on one opportunity for another. Yes, you've been taught to take the opportunities as they come. But you don't have to. If you're not ready for the opportunity or if you don't think it's for you, let it pass and look for the other opportunity right behind it.