We make the mistake of waiting for opportunities to present themselves, when in fact, they are already here, waiting, calling for you to act.
It may not be the opportunity you have in mind, but it is nonetheless calling you to action.
It may not seem like much. It may not feel like much. Neither is a tiny drop of water, suspended high above the ocean, signifying nothing.
If you drop that tiny little tear, into the still and calm ocean, in time, that insignificant little tear drop will become a powerful wave that will crash and assert itself upon the shoreline.
Your opportunities will create tremors in the world.
Success breeds success. Health breeds health. Happiness feeds upon itself.
What you seek you will certainly find.
Nelson Mandela began his journey with hatred and violence. He terrorised the white rulers of South Africa, at every turn, with all that he had. He was a fighter. He was determined. He loved South Africa, and so he took every single opportunity, by any means possible, to bring about change.
He was arrested. He was put on trial and was doomed to a long life in prison.
He was tempted and given a chance for release, but he knew that trading a small prison, for a larger one, was not a better opportunity than the one he was already presented with.
Sometimes you move farther, when you stand still.
His anger, hatred and opportunity for violence was taken away from him, but he was given a new one. Life always presents us with a new one.
A new. Unseen. Hidden opportunity.
He was presented with something so great, that it was impossible and unimaginable that it would grow out of hatred and violence.
As agonizing and unfair, the twenty-seven years of prison had been for him, it also gave him an opportunity to learn and think about who he was, what he wanted for his county. It gave him a chance to reflect who and why he was fighting, and the best chance to win.
His resilience was eventually noticed and embraced by the world.
His opportunity was eventually realized and he became the first black president of South Africa.
Life presented him with yet another opportunity. A chance to do even greater things.
He could have returned to his initial rage and hatred, and justifiably punished the many racists of South Africa, but he wanted peace. He wanted real change. A possibility of a future that had to stem from something more noble, than where you began.
The South African Peace and Reconciliation Commission is that chance at a peaceful future.
An opportunity to wipe away past crimes, let go of blame, and build a future.
Under president Nelson Mandela, South Africa offered everyone, on either side of the conflict, a chance to freely confess and admit everything they had done; without punishment.
I want you to understand this.
No financial consequences.
Nothing to pay back or give back.
No prison sentence.
The truth, in exchange for peace.
If someone chose to ignore this offer, and if evidence could be gathered against them, they persecuted, and made to face their darkness. They were made to pay for their crime.
Why am I giving you a very incomplete and terribly simplified history of South Africa, and president Nelson Mandela?
I just want to illustrate the point that change and opportunity are present in our lives, all the time.
It is not something that happens at the end of the year. It is not something to be undertaken, during the highs and lows of our life. Those opportunities are almost always doomed to failure.
Begin today and seize the opportunity to change something.
Do something simple.
Maybe clean out your garage. Sell things you no longer need. Give it away. Find something you’ve forgotten you had. Paint your room. Create a new office space. Beautify your garden.
The simplicity and the mere act of cleaning, painting, creating, and beautifying, will one day bring you to an unbelievable opportunity, you can’t even imagine today.
You can’t get what you don’t know you need, without first taking care of the things you know you need to.
Seize your opportunity.
Dig your ditch.
Help someone else to do the same.