Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Opportunities...are like boats


There is a joke about a preacher on the roof of his house during a flood that goes something like this: a guy in truck come along and says, "Preacher, get in the truck - a flood is coming!" Preacher refuses, on the grounds of being busy doing the Lord's work. A boat comes to save him, and the driver gets the same response. Finally a helicopter comes by and is sent away, same answer. The preacher drowns in the flood. Upon going to heaven, he asks God why he had abandoned him in his time of need. God looks at him in great surprise and says, "Abandoned you?! I sent you a truck, a boat and a helicopter...what more did you want?!"

No segue here, but anyway. I was watching Ice Loves Coco the other night. Yes, I admit it. I have no idea why I'm so intrigued but whatevs. Anyway, Ice was speaking to a group of college kids and told them a R-rated version of the same joke. The point is that opportunity is something you have to participate in, not something that happens to you. It doesn't matter what things come along in your life, if you don't get in the boat, it will pass you by.

Something you may not know about me is that I am a terrible chicken. I hate blind leaps of faith, risk-taking and uncertainty. I am a cynic when it comes to people and expect the worst from pretty much everyone and everything. This is not something I'm proud of, and am fully aware that it is a defense mechanism but we can talk about all that another day. The point is that I have let several opportunities pass me by in my adult life and I have a fair amount of regret about that. Interestingly enough, this is a fairly extreme juxtaposition against many other aspects of my personality that have no fear whatsoever, so maybe my issues run deeper than I originally suspected.

Recently an opportunity was gift wrapped and pretty much dropped into my lap. Halfway into the conversation, I caught myself internally listing off all the ways it wouldn't work, how I wasn't the right person, didn't know what I might be getting into, etc., and basically wrote it off in my mind. However, it kept rolling around in my head and I just couldn't let go of it mentally. It was that same evening that I saw the TV episode mentioned above. My first thought was, "HEY! That's MY joke!!!" Seriously, I've never heard anyone tell that but me. However, the timing was key. So, I reached out and grabbed the stern of the boat before it slipped away completely.

Today, I had a major set-back and the first thing that came to my mind was that the timing of this opportunity was way more apropos than I had originally thought. I think we have a tendency as a culture to keep knocking on the same door over and over and over, thinking that it may open at some point. Sometimes I think this is true, but very often I think it's just the WRONG. DAMN. DOOR. I also believe that doors open when others close, but the lesson is still the same - you have to walk through the door. You have to get in the boat, you have to go out on the limb, you have to take opportunities when they come to you. A life of regret is something no one wants - why I or anyone else would chose to live one is nothing but fear. FEAR. False Evidence Appearing Real. I'm not doing this anymore. How about you?






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