“Opportunity knocks once…”

I was told as a child that opportunity knocks once. I believed it because it was told to me by the people who seemed to know the most. For most of my life, I felt envious when other people’s opportunities arrived, whisking them out of their dire circumstances and to a fairy tale life of privilege, pleasure, and freedom. I wondered why that could not be me.

I was expecting opportunity to show up with fanfare and glamour, fully showered and smelling sweet, with a pretty face and neat, straight teeth. I wanted it to be dressed in finery and to pull up in a limousine whereby it would whisk me away from my life of hardship and pain and suffering to a life of privilege, pleasure, and freedom. That is exactly why I was missing out on so many hidden opportunities that were crowding around me, begging for my attention.

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The Epiphany Moment

It was a Saturday morning in early March that everything changed. I sat up in bed with a grin on my face and said, “I have problems! I have problems!!”

A dream had revealed to me a surprising truth: the problems in my life, the very things that I’d been trying to escape and chase from my life, were opportunities in disguise. In that moment, my eyes were opened to a whole new world of potentials and possibilities.

Everything in my life that I had previously grumbled and complained about was a source of a potential opportunity. Like a raw, unpolished gemstone, those things looked like ugly, heavy rocks and I’d treated them like burdens to be born. I’d resented their presence in my life, blamed them for slowing me down and stopping me from achieving my dreams, and tried so hard to get rid of them.

Now, however, my eyes saw them in a whole new light. I began cutting these things open, and I started finding the rich treasures hidden in them. I began to realize how foolish and ungrateful I’d been for envying anyone else. My life was filled with opportunities, but my expectations about how they would come packaged were blinding me to them.

The Truth about Most Opportunities

The opportunities that show up dressed in finery, ready to go, and all that is needed is a hearty, “yes!” are indeed rare. They do knock only once. Why should they bother to knock more often than that? If the person behind the door doesn’t value them, they know that someone out there will.

However, most opportunities show up like beggars on the doorstep. They reek. They’re dirty. They are dressed in tattered rags. Their teeth are rotten, faces scarred and sunken. There’s nothing particularly attractive about them.

They aren’t charming or cute. They are loud, obnoxious, and rude. They don’t go away when commanded to. They linger on the doorstep, day after day, begging for attention and demanding service of their needs.

They don’t look like they’re worth anything at all. To the untrained eye, they are a parasite or a leech to be gotten rid of and destroyed. They seem to be taking up precious, valuable space that might be occupied by better opportunities.

They come disguised as disappointments, setbacks, problems, and challenges. They come hidden as poverty-stricken, uneducated masses in need of help. They come as difficult people who cause pain and grief. They come in death, in disease, in moments of sickness, sorrow, and suffering.

The Greatest Opportunities Are Hidden

I came to realize that the greatest opportunities are not the ones that come already packaged and presentable. They are the ones that come in distressing disguise, requiring work, requiring investment, requiring patience and determination to crack open, to mine and refine, to package and present.

These are the greatest treasures because they are ones which, if uncovered and put to work, will benefit the most people.  They are the ones that will have universal appeal and the solutions to those problems will be evergreen, ever fruitful, ever productive.

Once I learned to spot the hidden opportunities, I recognized the truth: There was more opportunity staring me in the face than I could ever possibly capitalize on in my lifetime. There is no shortage of opportunity in life. Everyone is given ample opportunity to prosper. It is simply that most people are not trained in how to find these hidden opportunities, seize them, and capitalize upon them.

The Mission Accepted

I took a look at the world around me, and I could now see why so many were struggling in life just as I had been. They couldn’t see the opportunities surrounding them. They didn’t know how to turn those problems into profits or to take those opportunities and make the most of them.

I set out to write a book to show them the way forward. I wanted to inspire hope in their hearts and restore their confidence in the goodness of life. I wanted them to see in themselves what I saw: a hidden gem waiting to be uncovered. I wanted to provide them the tools needed to crack open those heavy stones, extract the gem, evaluate its potential, mine it, refine it, package and present it so that everyone could benefit from the beauty and value contained inside it.

That is why I wrote Turning Problems Into Profits. That is why I sincerely hope that every person who wonders why opportunity keeps passing them by and who feels like they’ve somehow missed out on the boat bound for opportunity island will recognize that they’ve been holding a whole mountain of tickets for that boat all along. They simply could not see them for what they were because their false expectations about what the opportunity would look like were blinding them.

Take the Opportunity Challenge

Starting today, I issue a challenge: make a list of all those things that are presently in your life that you normally would complain and grumble about or wish would go away. Say thank you for each and everyone of those things, for contained inside them is an opportunity that will lead you on a path toward your dreams, and let them know that you appreciate them and the gift they are trying to give you. Repeat this exercise for the next 40 days.

Begin your gratitude list with these words, “I am so happy and grateful for the presence of (present circumstance) in my life because it is leading me on a journey to a greater, stronger, and more powerful version of myself.”

Why 40? Because it takes 27 days to form a new habit. If you do it for 40 days, you will entrench the habit of being grateful in all circumstances in your mind. Gratitude is the key that will crack open the opportunities hidden inside those people and circumstances that are currently causing you so much pain and grief. Give it a try and document it. See what happens when you do!

5 Dream Killers

  • Blame
  • Perfectionism
  • Desires for Approval & Affirmation
  • The Past
  • Negative Emotions

The Hardest Battle I Had To Fight

My 40 Year War with the Dream Killers

When I was thirteen, inspired by Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, I made this list of 100 things I wanted to do or own before my life was through. As hard as I worked, as often as I tried, I couldn’t seem to get any closer to my dreams than I was when I started. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong or why what I did wasn’t working.

Thirty years later, I look back at what was happening and it’s clear to me what was going wrong. I can see clearly every misstep I made and the reasons for those failures. I know exactly what was killing my dreams. It really came down to these five things: