Every mark of success originates in the same way: answering a question with “yes.” We are presented with opportunities every single day. Whether or not we choose to accept those opportunities and act upon them is a different story. Most people will complain that they never get a break, that things never just fall into their lap, like they seem to for everyone else.
The thing is, nothing just "falls" into anyone’s lap. In order to encounter an opportunity, you must seek it out. There are two steps to attracting opportunities: The first step is to find and recognize an opportunity when one presents itself, and the second is to say "yes." If you don’t say yes and take proactive action, you’ll never get anywhere in life.
Opportunities come in the form of persons. It’s not like your dream job will come knocking on your door; dreams don’t have fists. Only people can present you with opportunities. For this reason, we have to maximize the efficiency of our interactions with other people. You will need to meet new people because new people are much more likely to present you with opportunities than the people you come across on a regular basis.
Sure, the people you know may present you with opportunities from time to time, but the fastest way to stumble upon fresh opportunity is to expand your network. Before you go out and start introducing yourself to every person you meet -- which may actually be quite fun -- I recommend talking to the right people.
What makes someone the right person to approach depends on the type of opportunity you are looking for. If you are looking for a job in a certain field -- say, the medical field -- then you’d be best off going to places and events where you can mingle with doctors.
If you are looking for a relationship, go to places where you are most likely to find single people also looking to be in a relationship -- Google it and you’ll find more than enough places to meet your future husband. Go to places that focus on the things you enjoy, like museums, bookstores, clothing stores, the park…
You are most likely to land the right opportunity going to places where you’re most likely to find good opportunities. Why do you think people go to Ivy League schools? It’s not for the education; it’s for the networking.
Recognizing an opportunity is not as simple as it sounds, unfortunately. It can be very difficult to figure out what is a great chance to make progress in your life or career and what is most likely a waste of time. It’s impossible to know what the future holds in any given circumstance, so trying to recognize an opportunity for what it is near impossible. The only thing you can do is give it your best guess. If you think something may lead to a great opportunity, then take the leap of faith and go after it. In order to do this, you have to do what many people find to be the most difficult step in finding opportunity: saying yes.
Opportunities aren’t so much found as they are created. You create the possibility for opportunity every time you say yes to a request. For example, I landed my job with Elite Daily because I said yes to a friend of mine when he asked me to go out for drinks. I ended up meeting a certain Mr. Cuffin, and then, a week later, I’m at the Elite Daily headquarters.
One year later and I’ve written several articles that have received hundreds of thousands of shares. Because I was given the opportunity to work with Elite, I was also able to introduce myself to the right people.
Now, I’m launching my own startup: lilHub. All of this opportunity presented itself and led to my success, only because I said yes. I said yes to something that did not present itself as an opportunity, at all; it was just a fun night out. If it weren’t for that one "yes," you wouldn’t be reading this article and I wouldn’t be living my dream. I’ll be honest with you, my initial response was to say no and stay home; I needed a little convincing.
We will often say no instead of yes as a result of our fears or our laziness. No, we don’t want to go out because we’re too tired. No, we don’t want to quit our jobs and start our own company because we’re afraid we’ll fail. No, we don’t want to see her again because we’re not very good with commitment and she seems like a girl that we may end up falling for. It’s illogical. Of course, sometimes it is better to say no. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing until after the fact.
My advice is to say yes as often as you can in order to maximize the possibility of a great opportunity presenting itself. Only say no when you truly believe you will be better off saying no. You may not be right, but we literally can’t say yes to everything because we’ll spread ourselves too thin.