I heard so many messages about opportunities yesterday, I figured that it was a sign to blog about them. The funny thing about opportunities is that you have to not only be open to them, you must be willing to take a bit of risk, and that’s not easy for most people.
Some years’ ago, when we were in the midst of the worst part of the recession (some may be thinking “Aren’t we still IN the worst part of the recession?”) a psychologist friend of mine, Dr. Elvira Aletta, and I presented a series of seminars titled “Understanding and Surviving the Current Economic Crisis”. The content really applied to any crisis, but timing in this case was everything (like most opportunities). There was a section of the seminar when I talked about how the recession presented an opportunity to those of us looking to invest, because of the benefits of buying (stock) low and selling high. That’s all well and good but VERY few people have the strength of conviction to go through with it. We humans are pack animals, we generally follow whatever the herd is doing. There are only a few people who come to mind that are willing to be the first ones on the dance floor and risk looking like Elaine from “Seinfeld”.
It’s interesting how people’s risk tolerance drastically increases during a bull market and subsequently plummets during a bear market.
What prevents us from taking the opportunities that are presented to us? Is it fear? Lack of faith (same thing)? Sometimes I worry that we are so programmed NOT to make a mistake that we never experiment, never take a chance. (Our current school system methodology and “teaching to the test”, subsequently diminishing our natural curiosity is a tangent for another day.) There are those people who have taken significant risks and have seen the benefits from doing so. We idolize such people. But we look down upon people who took those same risks only to fail. Somewhere along the line making a mistake has become equated with being less-than. Sad…
Recessions bring out the entrepreneurial spirit in many people. Maybe out of necessity. I would have never started my own business had I not been faced with a job loss myself. (That’s the first time I’ve written those words – job loss – in reference to myself in a public forum. It still stings a bit.) I knew that I had an opportunity to carve out my own place in the world, and I actively choose to take that risk. I cannot tell you how difficult it has been, but I also cannot fully convey how much I love it.
Opportunity is often accompanied by the image of a door, “Opportunity knocks”, “When one door closes, another one opens.” and “When G-d closes a door, somewhere G-d opens a window.” You are on one side of the door and have the choice to open it… or not.