For the majority of us, we are in what I call the middle-class, meaning we must work to earn our wealth. There's no two ways about--no work, no money. No money=no life. And if you're healthy, you want to work...to make money. Not because you're materialistic, because you're realistic. Maybe you have parents, relatives or friends who could loan you a few dollars if you were in desperate need--but no one can support you but you. If you're in your 20's, you may question this--perhaps still living at home where you may be receiving some kind of financial support--like free rent, food, etc. But at a certain point in EVERYONE's life--it comes at different times for different people--you really are on your own. There is no safety net.
So here you are. You have to work to earn dollars to live. There is no one and no thing that can or will help you if you lose your job or your business (if you're self-employed). That means that the majority of your time is spent working--so you can pay your bills, support your car, your rent or mortgage, your family if you have children. Pay your utilities, your cable bill, cell phone, groceries, gas, and the list goes on, and on, and on. And at the end of your 10-12-hour work day 5-7 days a week, you try to spend time with your family and friends. Maybe sit back and watch a little baseball on TV or your favorite sitcom. Now let me ask you this, WHEN the heck are you going to have the TIME to SEIZE anything, let alone recognize when an opportunity comes knocking???
The simple answer is: You're not. Remember, not pessimistic, realistic. You're not going to have the time to see the opportunity, let alone seize it. But just because you don't have the time to see and seize doesn't necessarily mean anything. Want to know why?
We hear of these odd tales of "lucky" people who go into a supermarket a regular person and come out the latest star, discovered by an agent who happened to be in the same place at the same time. We hear about authors who make it phenominally big with their first novel; we hear about companies that make sneakers that, suddenly, everyone is wearing. If you ever have the time, you should read Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point. It gives a clear picture that every BIG idea out there didn't JUST happen like magic--there's always a tipping point where the product, book, or concept gets a foothold in society...and the rest is history.
But what about you? What about YOUR tipping point? You may feel like you're stuck on the gerbil's wheel--and you probably are--but why should that stop you from MAKING opportunities for yourself? If you really look into those "magical" tales of luck and success, you'd find that the person, the author, or the company worked multiple jobs before making it big, did jobs no one else wanted to do, like being a grave digger, a dishwasher, or maybe spent grocery and gas money sending out a thousand query letters every week for a two full years or longer before getting the "break" needed to make it big.
In our society, our language is a code we may not even realize we are deciphering beyond the literal translation. :Big break" makes it sound as though, all of sudden, by the luck of the draw, or maybe through Satanic soul-selling, a person just soars to success. That is simply NOT true. There's no such thing as "Big Breaks"--because people have to first work extremely hard to not just seize the opportunity when it presents itself, but to MAKE the "opportunity" to begin with. That's how you GUARANTEE your own success--you're looking for that magical moment because you've been working hard to create so when it finally arrives, you're not really seizing anything--you're merely reaping the fruits of your own labour.
We live in an instant-gratification socio-cultural climate. I want a Coach bag. Boom! With the press of a few buttons, a couple of clicks here and there--and I have one. I feel like a Wendy's frosty. Boom! Get in the car, drive a mile or so--make my order in the speaker, pay a couple of bucks--and I have one. If you want a certain kind of ethnic food--just go to the grocery store...BOOM! There it is. You need gas or oil for your car--no problem. Easily found at one of the 15 gas stations at any point in your local suburb or city. Like a song? In 30 seconds, you can buy it on iTunes. Want to find an old episode of a beloved television show? YouTube or alluc.org and it's yours! EASY is THE word that sums up our culture today...and frankly, we've all become a bit spoiled.
There's a fundamental disconnect between finding those "rare" opportunities and never coming across any "diems" to "carpe" for the rest of your life:
In order to TAKE it, you must first MAKE it. That's why those opportunities are, in fact, so very rare--it takes a great deal of effort to create that kind of opportunity, and in the midst of trying, because we are all CONDITIONED toward ease, we give up, or become frustrated, or allow ourselves to be distracted.
My wish for each of you is that you remain focused on that BIG goal I know you have in you somewhere. Maybe you're open about it--maybe you're not. Regardless, you have it--and if you really want it to come true, you must MAKE it happen. Even the celebutants featured in "reality" TV shows have to do that. What? You think there'd be a "Keeping up with the Kardashians" if that sex tape never surfaced in 2007??? Even before that happened, Kim Kardashian worked extremely hard to become a buyer for celebrity clients...like Paris Hilton. And even now, she works extremely hard to keep those opportunities rolling. She's no different than you or I--well, yes, she may have 100 Louis Vuitton's in her closet; she may be driving an expensive Italian sports car--but she's no different because she, too, must work for her dollars. Stephenie Meyer--sure, she's sold millions of books and is probably richer than she ever imagined possible--but she still has to write the books. And she'll have to keep writing the books, too. Companies like Apple are another good example--Steve Jobs worked extremely hard amongst mighty competition to get where he is today--there was no LUCK involved--no "Big Breaks" that Steve himself didn't make.
Had you ever heard of Stephenie Meyer before say, 2005? No--though Meyer had started writing her tales in 2003. For two long years, she sent out query letter after query letter, getting lots of rejections--but she just needed that one special acceptance. Did you hear of Apple or Steve Jobs before say 1984 with the advent of the Macintosh? Absolutely not, though Jobs had been working with his two co-founders Wozniak and Wayne since 1976. Kim Kardashian--we heard of her famous father only because he was on the legal team that defended OJ Simpson (1994)...but you wouldn't have known her name before that, or even AFTER that...until 2007. Of course, then Kim made lemons out of lemonade by posing for Playboy that same year. Her beauty caught the attention of a jeans company, and the rest is reality-television history.
Bottomline: Make your opportunity...ithen TAKE it! "Carpe Diem" is not for the faint of heart, dear readers. Let's seize the day together--keep me posted on your progress and I'll do the same.
Until next time....