How to recognize and create rare opportunities

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“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”―Roald Dahl

There are opportunities everywhere.

Anything that anyone else is doing is possible and available to you.

But if you don’t believe that, it is not available to you. As Henry Ford has said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” According to psychological research, your belief in your own ability determines your ability to learn new things. And your ability to learn new things is the doorway to anything you hope to achieve.

Your intelligence is more about your beliefs and desires than the traits you were born with. If you want something bad enough, you’ll learn how to do it. As Bill Walsh said, “If your why is strong enough you will figure out how!”

Do you believe amazing things can happen in your life?

Do you really believe you can achieve your dreams?

Despite all of the voices outside of you telling you it’s not possible, can you hear that voice from within telling you to keep going? Those external voices are a reflection of their reality, their insecurity, and their disappointment. Don’t let their subjective reality derail your hope.

Opportunities are everywhere

You live in the most open and flexible time in human history. The external constraints that have held people back from pursuing their dreams have been loosened. Of course, there will always be contextual constraints.

But within those constraints is enormous freedom right now. And in all honesty, the most hostile and paralyzing constraints to living your dreams are in your head.

Either you don’t believe you can have the life you want. Or, you’re waiting for something outside of you to do it for you.

Luck is not a cause of success. Luck is an effect. As Thomas Jefferson has said, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

Luck is an effect.

Happiness is an effect.

Success is an effect.

None of these things are root causes. They are organic and unintended consequences. These things come to people who believe in them. They come to people who believe in magic and miracles, and despite all the evidence to the contrary, continue to believe and act.

If your happiness is dependent on you acquiring or achieving something, you 1) will probably not get it, or 2) won’t be satisfied once you do. Happiness, and more specifically, gratitude, at every stage and step along your journey is vital. You need to be blown away that the opportunities all around you even exist.

You need to be humbled and blown away that you’re even alive. Every moment is a priceless gift. We have nothing to complain about. No matter what happens, we’re all just lucky to be here.

Are you thinking too small?

“You need to aim beyond what you are capable of. You need to develop a complete disregard for where your abilities end. If you think you’re unable to work for the best company in its sphere, make that your aim. If you think you’re unable to be on the cover of Time magazine, make it your business to be there. Make your vision of where you want to be a reality. Nothing is impossible.” — Paul Arden

You need goals that are far beyond your current capability. These are the types of goals that don’t have a clear how. It’s not obvious or logical how you’ll accomplish what you want to do. But the vision, the why, is there. And that’s all you really need.

In fact, relying too heavily on specific strategies is misplaced. Rather than focusing on specific practices, learn the principles beneath the practices. Because the situation may change and the practice no longer applies.

Principles, like the law of gravity, guide your behavior even in the most ambiguous of situations. You need to become comfortable not knowing the answers. In being clueless as to how you’re going to do it.

According to loads of research, having a high tolerance for ambiguity makes you less likely to get anxious in novel situations or when faced with uncertainty. It allows you to think quickly on your feet and see things from unique angles.

Your tolerance for ambiguity will help you adapt to any situation, and learn how to get where you want to go.

You can develop tolerances for just about anything: pain, fear, doubt… might as well develop a tolerance for the unknown. That’s exactly where you want to be. And having the confidence, even in the dark, that you can and will figure it out.

Conclusion

Any goal you have is available to you. You just have to believe in your ability, and learn how to learn.

Learning how to learn is simple: base your life on principles and not specific strategies. Embrace ambiguity and trust that you’ll find a way. Pray that you’ll find a way. Don’t give up when things get confusing or difficult.

That’s exactly where you want to be.

Don’t freeze when you don’t know what to do. Take some breathes and listen to your inner voice. Your success and goals are intrinsically guided. So it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

You can do this.

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What is something big you can work on right now that will move you toward your dreams?

Do everything in your power — and if you’re open to it, access powers beyond your own — to make that next thing happen. Even if it seems out of reach, learn the process of how to do it. Once you get there, learn the process of the next thing.

Learning how to learn is the most important skill. It’s based on your belief in your own abilities and the depth of your desire to succeed.

Do you want it bad enough to keep going when things get hard?

Do you want it bad enough to not give up after repeated failures?

Do you want it bad enough to learn it, and become good at it?

Are you going to get there?

Are you going to make it?

Do you really believe you can do this?

If you do, expect magic to help you along the way. Because it absolutely will. And the more you look for it, the more it will be there to guide you. For me, magic is nothing more than my relationship with God. Can call it whatever you want, the effects are the same.

The more effective you get at achieving your most immediate goal, the quicker you’ll get at achieving everything you’ve ever wanted in life.

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This article first appeared on Medium