Stop Chasing Opportunities

Do you believe that more opportunities equal more chances of success? I sure did.

And since we all want to feel important in this world, we think that the way to achieve that is to chase every single opportunity out there.

I hear it often: “This is a big opportunity for me.”

But that idea is broken. Chasing opportunities is a bad strategy. It’s more practical to chase skills, and PREPARE for opportunities.

That’s a small tweak in your mindset, but it changes everything. Abraham Lincoln put it best:

“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.”

We’re always desperately looking for the next big opportunity. The next big business idea, technology to adopt, holiday to plan, house to buy, person to seduce, promotion to acquire.

What are you pursuing in your life?

Are you all over the place? Trying to make the best of everything? Chasing every single opportunity on your path? If you do that, this is you:

You’re just fooling yourself. You want it all, but you lack the courage to say no. So you say yes, and you put yourself in an impossible situation.

Many priorities equal NO focus

I must be honest — I’m talking to myself here. For most of my life, I’ve been moving from one opportunity to the other. That changed about two years ago when I decided to only focus on growing Vartex, my family business, and my blog.

And that went well. I said no to everything else. But I was tempted by opportunities the last few months. Consulting, coaching, speaking, writing more books, starting other businesses, creating YouTube videos — things I either did or considered.

But all it did was confuse me. I had too many priorities and zero focus. It was time for me to rethink my opportunities.

However, it’s never a matter of finding opportunities. Everyone has opportunities. So it’s not about how many opportunities you have, it’s about how many opportunities you eliminate from your life. And that’s not easy.

I decided to only focus on my business, blog, online courses, and podcasting. Just four things. They’re all very closely related. And I say no to every other opportunity.

Opportunities are not only external

Most opportunities come from within. Every time you think: “Should I pursue this?” You’re evaluating an opportunity.

And that requires a lot of brainpower. So make your life easy, and DECIDE.

Decide what you want to focus on in your career.

What do you want to excel at? And do exactly that. Nothing else.

“How many things should I focus on?”

That’s a tough one. It depends on where you are in life. In the beginning of your career, I would pick one to make things easy. Just pick one skill and give it all your attention.

But having just one skill in life will not get you far. When I look at people who are doing well in life, they often have combined several skills to get a competitive advantage.

You also don’t want to be a jack of all trades. Otherwise, you’re okay at many things, but never exceptional at a few.

“How do I know when opportunity knocks?”

When you know that it requires hard work to actualize the opportunity. Thomas Edison put it nicely:

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

At the end of the day, an opportunity is just a chance of making something good happen. An opportunity alone means nothing. Give ten people the same opportunity, and you’ll get ten different outcomes.

Opportunity = More Work (which is not always a good thing)

Because you don’t want to work yourself to death, it’s best to pick your opportunities wisely. How? I ask myself two questions.

  1. What am I good at? This question helps you pick opportunities that align with your strengths
  2. What type of work do I enjoy? I don’t like to pursue opportunities just because I think it will make me money. Or just because other people are doing something. Those are lousy reasons to do something.

And when you answer those questions honestly, you always get a handful of career opportunities. No one is good at 107 skills. And no one enjoys doing everything in the world.

Remember that drawing from earlier? You’re chasing all opportunities, but you end up confused.

Now, when you decide to pursue a few good opportunities that knock on your door, you get this:

Look, life is full of opportunity. You just have to figure out which opportunities you’re going after. And yes, that’s a hard thing to figure out. You also don’t control the opportunities that come your way.

What do you control? How prepared you are. So stop chasing everything like a happy dog in the park on a summer day. Just keep things simple, work on your skills, character, and become better at a few things every single day.

And when opportunity knocks, don’t be afraid of the work, grab it by the head and give it EVERYTHING YOU GOT.

 

 

42 comments

  1. Mr.darius
    This article is mindopener for every1 who r chasing there dreams..your words are extraordinarly true..
    Thankyou mr.darius

  2. This article has just described me in many nutshells. I can’t get over how precise you are in describing the issues I have been dealing with. I want to learn more and be guided so that I can simplify my life. Thank you so much for this.

  3. This is so timely! I’m just coming to understand this because so many opportunities have sprung up, but I decided to focus on the three that are related to each other (in terms of skillset). This article just reinforced that thought.

  4. Such a good reminder. In addition, we have seasons of our lives.

    I’m going to assert unapologetically that women especially are wise to acknowledge that when they have children, being mom one of the huge priorities during that season of their lives. That season passes into one which has a bit more time to pursue a couple more opportunities.

    Right now, being mom, homeschooling my kids and working with my husband in our business are a huge chunk so I’ve pulled away from my freelance business. Your article is giving me a bit of a nudge to close down my freelance business completely for a time. I really think I’ll be more focused and enjoy my other priorities more if I do that.

    Still enjoying your insights and straight talk 🙂

  5. You describe symptoms of our attention-deficient world and good advice to break away from the frustration of unrealistic expectations.

  6. Thank you for sharing Darius! Everyday I am learning to focus on just a few things. This was one of my challenges last year. Not saying No is a killer of many things.

  7. I have been, since 4 years so far, improving my creative writing skills and take jobs only in this area. It has not been easy. Actually I am offering my writing service so this article was very timely.

    Great week for all of you 🙂

  8. Thanks so much Darius for doing what you do. I’ve been feeling so guilty and weird about saying no to some opportunities which I know would make me money but I won’t be happy doing them. I feel so much better now.

  9. This is so true, unfortunately, I cant even contain 4 opportunities, I have to give myself 2. One day maybe I can do four, but for now Im deciding to focus 2 things. Its hard because I have a YouTube channel thats been around for 7 years, and I get TONS of opportunities through that, but I just cant manage my YouTube full time, it overwhelms me. Every year I tell myself its the year of my YouTube, but it hasnt happened in 6 years. Shucks.

  10. Yes, yes, yes! The power of saying no has really helped me on my career path. When considering my opportunity I ask myself one question: Is this a direct step towards my goal? I believe anything that isn’t moving towards your goal is moving away from it.

  11. It was helpful for me to undergo a ‘partial yes-ectomy’ when I found myself with too many balls in the air to juggle. It worked, to limit my saying, yes. It truly is Ok to say, no.

  12. Hi. i am zakaria, recently graduated from university junior programmer and working as an android apps developer . I am not that much skilled yet in android. Recently i have got an offer of a IOS apps training course . But i dont know if i should continue that course. I cant not give much focus either on Android or IOS. And my passion is to persue higher education (Masters) in abroad and become a professor. What should i do ? Please give me suggestion.

  13. This motivation is helping me to do what I have been doing for over 25 years and feeling totally contend with every project I do. My work involve having to work with people that need convincing ideas to make them employ my services. Some times I make a good profit to sustain me, and the most fulfilling is when I look at the finish product and pat myself at the back to say well done girl! Going back to what you are saying regarding doing too many things is so true, I have tried doing that and it never works instate it takes up a lot of your energy, money and affects my health and this article has inspired me even more. Thank you!

  14. Darius, I agree with almost everything, the only thing I would like to add to your awesome text is that when the opportunity arrives, most of the times we are not ready, we will need to develop some skill throughout the pathe. In my opinion, if are fully prepared it’s not an opportunity, it’s just another task. Thank you very much for everything you share.

  15. thank u. ur priceless. I thought I was the only person who felt that way. now I feel comforted that there is someone who thinks the same way.

  16. Very timely advice, Darius! I almost said yes to an offer that really is NOT going to get me where I want to go. I was getting blind sighted by the material perks. But there you were with your post, saving the day and preventing me from making a huge mistake. I’ve turned on the more strategic part of my brain and am now working on more strategic approach. Cheers, mate!

  17. Thanks you for the advice, you helped me to become Wise for the four skills of what i like to do.
    You’re inspirational and again! Thanks you so much Darius.

  18. Darius, thanks a lot for sharing this. Too bad I was too late to say ‘no’ to an offer I didn’t really want while I wasn’t ready to give everything I’d got on an offer I truly wanted. However, regrets won’t make me move anywhere, right? I’ll take a note to dig down what I wanted, what I should improve within myself, and so on. Hopefully things go awesome for you Darius.

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