You probably ran into to the shop filled with sheer delight, after getting the green light from a parent. You excitedly looked for the server while pressing your little nose against the glass display panel to gaze at the many delectable flavors.
The smiling server from behind the counter notices you and politely asks, “What can I get you today?”
You pause. Wrinkle your nose. After a few moments of deliberation, you point to the flavor you want and exclaim, “THAT one!” You may have also added some chocolate sauce and sprinkles as toppings.
Within a couple of minutes, you skipped outside the store while relishing your very own cone of ice cream that’s customized to your liking. You were in a state of pure bliss as you indulged in your decadent treat.
Fast forward 20+ years and your decision-making day’s have gotten a little more… complicated.
It’s also a lot more serious because the ramifications of the choices that we make now are much more intensified and long-lasting compared to our ice cream-purchasing days. A decision about who you will marry, what kind of career you’ll step into, or whether you should re-locate to a different country or state can all drastically shift the trajectory of your life path.
Most of us find this process daunting because we don’t know to handle it. Our attention has become so consumed with the worries and busyness of daily living that we feel disconnected from our inner self, which has all the wisdom that we need to recognize and seize the best opportunities for us.
The people who feel ill-equipped in making suitable life choices are very much like roulette players in a casino. They rely on chance (or scant knowledge) and they gamble on random numbers without ever knowing the outcome of the risk they have taken. They live in a perpetual state of anxiety because their life depends on the unpredictable revolutions of the turning wheel and not on their own efforts.
Fortunately, we don’t have to live in this way – there is a more conscious and rewarding way of living in which we can greatly influence the direction of our life. We have the power to dramatically increase our odds of enjoying a rewarding life by training ourselves in the art of recognizing and seizing the right opportunities when we see them.
Learning how to identify and make the best choices is an essential life skill for us to master when pursuing our dreams. We can’t afford to be indecisive or make half-hearted decisions that are not aligned with the truth of who we are and who we want to become. Our time is limited and precious.
Yet it’s not always easy to decipher our hearts’ desires or the subtle messages of our internal impulses. Making important decisions about which opportunities to act on require a balance of both rational and subjective knowledge, and harmony between our heads and hearts.
Whether you are confused by multiple options in your personal or professional life, incorporating these behavior patterns will simplify the decision-making process for you:
- Engage in the process of self-discovery: “Know thyself” – the famous phrase coined by the great Shakespeare denotes the importance of self-knowledge. When we understand ourselves on a deeper level, we will be more adept at creating an alignment between our outer reality and our inner vision. There are several ways through which we can engage in the process of self-discovery, such as doing personality tests and assessments, reflecting on past experiences, receiving feedback from others, and journaling about our experiences and feelings.
- Be open to experimentation: Self-knowledge will help you narrow down options but sometimes you will need to do some trial and error to see which specific opportunity is the best fit for you. Just as how we need to try on a pair shoes before we decide to purchase them, we may need to try a career or relationship on for size before taking the plunge. Make sure that you set a limit on the amount of time, energy and resources that you are willing to expend in the process of trial and error, so that you can avoid stretching yourself beyond your capacity.
- Gather all the facts: If you are trying to figure out your best career options, you should try to gather as much data as possible, such as company backgrounds, office culture, and the opportunities for professional growth. If you are trying to decide whether to get more serious about a romantic prospect, try learning about his or her past relationship patterns, lifestyle, family history, and beliefs about relationships. This may sound like a lot of work but if you are going to make an investment of any kind, you need to be clear about what you are getting yourself into before making any kind of commitment.
- Pay attention to your intuition: The decision-making process requires a combination of rational logic and another form of instinctive intelligence – our intuition. Whether you believe that your intuition is a channel connected to a divine source of guidance or an inventory of knowledge that’s been gathered from past experiences and knowledge, it is an invaluable tool that can provide clues about the most suitable opportunities for us.
- Take the pressure off yourself: Often times, we feel pressured to search for the best opportunities because we instinctually feel the finiteness of time. Living in this state of anxiety is not only unpleasant but can block us from moving forward. One way to lighten up is by realizing that each and every choice that we make (both the good and not-so-good ones) ultimately serves a purpose in our growth and evolution as a spiritual being if we’re willing to learn from our experiences.
No matter how overwhelming the idea of finding the right opportunities seems to be for us, we should still be grateful for living during a time when we have the privilege of choosing from an abundance of opportunities. The world is now essentially our oyster and we are all pearl divers, searching for the perfect pearls to create a beautiful necklace that we can wear during our soul’s voyage.
All my best on your journey,
Question for you: What has been the biggest challenge that you have faced when it comes to recognizing and seizing the best opportunities in your life? What are some of the best ways to recognize opportunity in your life?
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