I have always been comfortable with—maybe even sought out—situations rife with risk, because I know that they alone offer incredible moments of advancement, the opportunity to take significant steps toward the future, and to reap rewards that make the struggle involved in your endeavors all worthwhile.
I cringe every time I hear someone describe a situation as being a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” I rarely express my criticism out loud, but I always think to myself how foolish and self-limiting that sort of thinking is over the course of a lifetime. They’re just going to spend that lifetime waiting for opportunities to come to them?
Opportunities are not things that simply appear in your life by magic. And they’re certainly not the product of waiting. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t especially advantageous (and disadvantageous) situations waiting out there for you, but opportunities are also be manufactured. Every opportunity is essentially a product of your own smarts, grit, and willingness to work.
If life is the sport we’re all playing, season-to-season, then opportunities are the games we play along the way. There are goals and rules and teammates (and opponents.) There are hardships to be endured, challenges to overcome, and glory to be won. And there is a clock that is always counting down on us.
My strong advice is to give that game absolutely everything that you’ve got. Leave everything that you’ve got out on the field and come back every day more focused and more determined than ever. Create your own opportunities, pocket your ego, and play all sides of the ball. Take every snap and play absolutely every down as the entire game depended on it, because in a way it does.
If you want something to happen in your life, then don’t wait for opportunities to present themselves. Roll up your sleeves and get to work. Do something.
For further reading on doing whatever it takes to out-work your competition, check out the latest book from Steve Jones, No Off Season: The Constant Pursuit of More. A Playbook for Achieving More In Business and Life.
Originally posted on ForbesBooks.com