Seizing Opportunity

"Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known." (Garrison Keillor)

Walt Disney wasn't quite as homespun as Keillor; but he agreed with the sentiment, "You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you." Life and circumstances are as they are supposed to be and typically in your best interest, if you can find the benefit, which is frequently hidden, very hidden. Erich Fromm put the notion into perspective when he said, "Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies." When you get down to it, you might not even be able to tell that you have been dealt four aces in life's great poker game. You are sitting there with the winning hand and don't know it. Even worse, you think you lost. It's at moments like this when you need to focus on the message from Rose F. Kennedy, "Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?"

Life certainly has its ups and downs, good days and bad, challenges and opportunities. The key is in seizing the opportunities, maximizing the good days, taking full advantage of life's ups. How do you do this? It starts with understanding that, as Frank A. Clark pointed out, "If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere." The bad days, the challenges, life's downs are but prelude to the delights that remain. However objectionable life is for you today, do as Winston Churchill advised, "If you're going through hell, keep going." If you don't quite get the point, let the famous Anon. be your guide," A bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn;" and make that turn you will.

Are you contemplating a different strategy? Are you considering running away and hiding? Are you struggling to find a way to bypass life's hassles? As you imagine your alternatives, you need to know what Uncle Remus discovered long ago, "You can't run away from trouble. There ain't no place that far." Oliver Wendell Holmes agreed with Uncle Remus' conclusion, "If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it round. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don't embrace trouble; that's as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say meet it as a friend, for you'll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it."

When you get down to living it, life may or may not have the silver lining Garrison Keillor hinted at or be quite as good for you as Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested when he said, "We acquire the strength we have overcome." Still, life really is like the famous Anon. observed, "It just wouldn't be a picnic without the ants."

Goals That Change Your Life

Your success is too important to accommodate anything else. Most everyone has smaller goals and they even reach them most of the time. For them, that is enough. Being able to pay the bills, having an adequate place to live, driving a dependable car, holding down a good job, being able to provide for their children, and perhaps a yearly vacation is about all they expect of themselves and is about all they ever have.

Limiting themselves to such timid goals works for them and for others who are not totally and unequivocally committed to success; but for you and the rest of the creme de la creme who will never be satisfied with mediocrity, such mundane goals are hardly worthy of being called goals. They are simply part of taking care of business while you get on with taking care of your success. You expect to use your internal resources, your potential to develop a services line taking you into realms most people can but dream about, if they are even aware of the possibility. …

Measure Success by Success

Listen in on a conversation Simon is having with a friend.

S          Hey, how are things? What have you been up to?

F          Oh, not much. I’m retired.

S          Wow! I can’t believe you are retired. You have my most sincere condolences.

F          No, you have it all wrong. I am very happy now I am retired.

S          Well, okay. So what’s happening? What are you up to?

F          I’m not really up to anything. There is plenty to occupy my time. I am enjoying doing what I want to do for a change.

S          Great! Good for you. Tell me about what you want to do.

F          Well, nothing special. I like to be spontaneous. I don’t want to be tied down with plans. There is always enough to keep me busy.

S          I see. You are into busy work.

F          I wouldn’t put it quite like that.

There you go. The only problem with not having anything to do right now is if you do not take charge of your success, the busy work may just last forever. What it took for you to succeed is not the same as it takes to be successful. His friend most assuredly succeeded in the past but shows no signs of being successful as time goes on. He decided to rest on his success; and that is a shame, given what he could have potentially contributed to the success chains of other people, e. g., children or young adults who aspire to be where he has been, the work of his church or the well-being of his neighbors. …

Success Is Can … Not Can’t

What you cannot do may be on your list of things you want to be able to do one day; but your services line is limited to what you can already do today. You may be a good singer, a serious student of eighteenth century philosophy, a skilled whittler, an expert on baseball statistics, a competent poker player, and still not be a link in the success chains of others. What you can do does not materially add to their success and thus, does not affect yours.

You cannot and should not spend every waking moment succeeding. You need other ways to express yourself and to get away from the success game. If you do not have other interests, the absence of fullness and richness in your life sooner or later lead to your being obsessed with success. Should that happen, certain failure is just around the corner. No one can pull the success wagon 24-hours a day forever. …

Resources are Internal – Opportunities are External

At a recent success seminar, one of the world’s most renowned success gurus illustrated success by telling a story about a young man who made it big. The point was he took a chance on himself: certainly an important success principle. This enterprising entrepreneur invested $120,000 to manufacture and market an invention he came up with in college. The specifics are not important but a couple of points are. The cash was “part” of a gift he received from his uncle. The gift was given to him when he received his business degree from Harvard. Now isn’t that just dandy? If you have a business degree from Harvard and a rich uncle, you can make it big. If your uncle is rich enough, you may not even need the degree.

It is easy to hear this story and miss the most important point. …

Never Too Late To Succeed or Too Soon To Fail

If you think you are too late, too old, too tired, or too busy to succeed, you are only making excuses, blowing smoke, playing mind games with yourself. “I gave it my best effort and don’t have any more to give,” does not cut it either. That is just one more version of POOR ME and lets you know it is time for a serious attitude adjustment. You still have plenty of time to succeed but do not have any time left to fail. The only thing in your way is you. Get your get-up-and-go up and going today. …

Success Is An Attitude Away

As with most of life’s important adventures, the door to your success potential unlocks with attitude, attitude, attitude; and you hold the key. Unlocking your unlimited potential rests on your fully committing to your success. For you, anything less than success is unacceptable. Coming close, a good try, nearly succeeding, and other versions of not quite making the grade just do not do. Others may be satisfied with having played a good game; but your vision for yourself does not include second place. …

Cultivate Your Success

Let’s get a couple of things out in the open so you can get them behind you. Yes, it is possible to strike it rich, to have an inspiration for an invention making you famous while it makes your fortune, and maybe even to have a sudden insight leading you to the right end of the rainbow, pot of gold and all.”

Sure, some lucky ducks were born with silver spoons in their mouths. In life’s great poker game, some people get better cards than others. It is enough to make you just sit down and cry.

Before you drown in your tears though, remember that I did say instant success is possible, if all you want is money, status, or a free ride. The odds are not in your favor but it might happen. Hanging your future on it is a bit risky; but a possibility is still a possibility. If instead, you would rather hang your future on something a little more substantial, I have a suggestion for your thoughtful consideration:

Cultivate your success. …

We Got Trouble Is Live

Thanks for checking out the first episode of We Got Trouble. is the home of We Got Trouble and is where you find all of the episodes, starting with this one. Over the weeks to come, trouble will be the focus from personal troubles to trouble at work, family troubles to trouble in the community and the country, troubles in our lives today to trouble down the road.


You are invited to share in the journey both as a listener and as an active participant. Please contact me at to share your ideas about troubles you want discussed. If you want to actively participate on the podcast, let me know what you want to discuss and the best way for you to share your views and perspectives.


In this episode, I consider stress and how it becomes real trouble at times. Sophie lets us know that she’s got trouble and zeros in on the essence of personal trouble. It’s a lack of personal control over people and circumstances and the fear that control isn’t returning any time soon.


The discussion then shifts to trouble related to our federal government and the confusion I am experiencing about what is true and not true, who to believe and who is lying. I got trouble with what appears to be happening and as near as I can tell, most Americans have trouble too. Again, the confusion and apprehension about what might happen and our lack of control are at the essence of the trouble.