Seize the moment

A young, ambitious and driven woman went abroad for two years. During the first year of her stay, she got a wonderful opportunity to work as a newspaper correspondent for a leading publication. She was informed that this employment offer involved her writing three reports a day on newsworthy topics. However, though intuition and gut feeling told her, “Go for it!” something like a fear psychosis held her back and she subsequently declined the offer fearing that she would be unable to write three reports a day in this small town.

Two years down the line, when she saw the success prospects of the newspaper (whose offer she had turned down), she regretted her decision of not joining it. It would have been the perfect launch pad for her career and it would have allowed her to zero in on a job where she could “learn the ropes” on the job – the best way to learn them.

What this talented novice lacked was that she had not grabbed the opportunity or “seized the moment”, as they say. She had failed to capitalise on an opportunity rarely given to newcomers – a golden opportunity, as it were. Indeed, it is imperative for every human being – man or woman – to avail of opportunities when they come, for they are few and far between. One should crystallise, fructify and materialise every given chance and opportunity. Losing a good opportunity is tantamount to wrecking a cherished dream. William Shakespeare has this quotation on missed chances, “There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of life is bound in shallows and miseries.”

One should figuratively “make hay while the sun shines”. One should refrain from being lethargic when time matters nor should one sport a “grapes are sour” attitude that successful people are that way because of “luck”. One fisherman averred that he would not go fishing because he thought only “lucky fishermen” are “successful” and that he was “unlucky”.

Even before starting out, he has displayed a negative, defeatist and blatantly blinkered perspective. On the other hand, there was another fisherman who maximised his chances of spreading his fishing nets wide and far to make the maximum effort of catching every possible fish instead of complaining, cribbing and alluding success to “good luck” only. Instead of envying others, one should analyse and study one’s own behaviour pattern and see where one has faltered, resolving to be more vigilant and ever ready in the future.

Indeed, by sporting a defeatist attitude, one is minimising one’s chances quantitatively and qualitatively. Instead, one should hone a vigilant and perceptive perspective and outlook and try to salvage and make good every opportunity by “seizing the moment”. How true is the maxim, “Strike when the iron is hot”.

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