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Seizing Opportunities

“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.”

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