Opportunity Knocks

That is one of the tricks of opportunity. It has a sly habit of slipping in by the back door, and often it comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat. Perhaps this is why so many fail to recognize opportunity.

– Napoleon Hill

I spoke with a friend who is facing some critical decisions for his business. The results of the choices will dramatically change its future direction. Challenging the practices that have brought the business to this point has created tension. The results of the choices will mean letting go of some practices and focusing on others for growth.

On one hand, it would be tempting to be nostalgic. After all, he built the operations around this area and it would mean letting go of that part of the business. It could be tempting to take a negative view and see this as a defeat. I could think “I failed because we are no longer doing this part of the business.”

I’ve also struggled with this mentality. It would be easy to look at my time moving back to Kulm as a defeat, rather than an opportunity. My mind would then be filled with regret. I would want to avoid thinking about my time there. I could feel shame about the decision.

Instead, I see that “temporary defeat” as a gateway to new opportunity. I learned things about myself that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I was able to learn valuable skills in business operations, sales, and marketing. Our family was able to spend two wonderful years living right next to my parents. Those memories are invaluable and I wouldn’t trade them for anything!

During our conversation we talked about an upcoming project that will be stressful. My first reaction was to say: “It will be fun!” (People soon learn I have a strange definition of a fun time…)

It goes back to how I think. Will I look at a tough situation with fear and doubt? Or will I approach the endeavor with a spirit of enthusiasm, optimism, and curiosity? Certainly the work will be real, there will be legitimate problems to solve, and I will feel stress at times. But if I begin with a spirit of enthusiasm, optimism, and curiosity I will discover those moments.

How do you approach difficult situations? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


Earlier this week I started re-reading Napoleon Hills’ classic “Think and Grow Rich.” I’d like to post my thoughts here on a regular basis for your own reflection. Hopefully this sparks some thoughts in your life and a conversation with me about it!

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