“Four things do not come back: the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity.” ~ Og Mandino
Today I want to share with you about the power of opportunities that come into our lives. If we take advantage of them before they are gone and make the best of them, it can literally redirect our future. Recently I shared this quote with my dear friend wanting to urge him to see his opportunity. And I am inspired to share this with you.
If you read it quickly without putting any thought into what it’s saying, it might sound just as another quote that you often see on the social media posts, and move on. It could be life-changing for you though if you connect with who you are and where you are going in life. Stay with me for a minute.
Reading this sentence was one of the life-changing moments for me. I read these words in 2003, while I lived in Lithuania. At the time, I was back home from my 6-month trip to California to obtain my prosthetic legs and in my prayer, I was asking God to direct me what I had to do next to create a fulfilling life that I envisioned. Soon after, one day I called the taxi to go to someplace, and after an unexpected profound conversation about achieving success in life, the taxi driver handed me the book “The Greatest Mystery in the World” by Og Mandino. I paid close attention to his manner of handing me the book and it seemed, he was passing on to be a treasure. The book taught wisdom about what it took to achieve success and have a purposeful fulfilling life. The author called the book the Hand of God. I was absolutely astonished – I felt that the Lord was reaching His hand out to me, answering my prayer by putting this book into my hands, which showed me the direction I needed to take.
In order for me to move forward toward my ultimate dream of independent and dynamic life, I needed to use the opportunity that I had at the time and take action without wasting any time. It was time for me to take the initiative and change my life conditions that I was not happy about.
My opportunity was that California was the place where I could have the life I dreamed about because of its climate and wheelchair accessible environment, and I knew several American families whom I met during my visit. I had to use this opportunity and move to California to change my life. Somehow I knew that I was standing at the crossroads of my destiny. My further life would depend on my choice of this defining moment.
One choice was to stay at home in Lithuania and have a secure and comfortable life with my family and friends, but then I would pass the chance to create and live an independent life, and continue living being restricted and limited by my circumstances. The second choice – to return to California heading into the unknown without any security or guarantees, all the while risking my family’s savings, but it would open the possibility of creating the life I desired.
It was a decision that made my palms sweat because I had no answers where I was going to stay, how I was going to survive and take care of myself on my own. Besides, I had no right to live or work in the USA! And, I couldn’t take just any job because I couldn’t walk or use both hands. I moved around in a manual wheelchair and had only one functional arm to use. And, I had to leave my family, my friends and all my world and go into the country across the globe where I would be alone and a complete stranger.
When I weighed the pros and cons, one side had only one reason to risk – an opportunity. It was an opportunity to change my life. On the other side, numerous reasons were stacked against me why I should Not undertake the endeavor of moving to the USA. Mostly they were challenges that made my idea seem impossible, fear, the unknown, doubts and questions ‘What if’.
Which path should I choose? To tell you the truth it was scary. I was struggling with the decision. I had no idea how this would be possible. After all, I had no legal rights and absolutely no means or resources to establish myself in California, one of the most expensive states in the country.
But I so greatly desired to change my life! For days there was an ongoing battle between my heart and my mind. So in my prayer, I brought this before the Lord to ask for His direction. The Lord answered my question through the Holy Scriptures. I received a clear direction to go to California with the promise of the Lord’s blessing. It was incredible! Receiving God’s promise felt as though I finally stood on the solid ground and felt peace about this choice.
Even though realistic facts still screamed at me this was not possible, I decided to follow what I felt peaceful about, and by faith, I put my confidence in my Lord. I chose to conquer my fear with faith and pay attention to all possibilities rather than why it wasn’t possible.
In addition to my faith, I was determined to work hard and do everything I could possibly do to achieve my goal. I was ready and willing to do any job and put in any amount of work. No goal and no dream can come true without our actions. We live in a physical world, and nothing will happen if we are not willing to work for it. The Lord will open the opportunity and create circumstances in our favor, but then we must use the given opportunity and do the work to attain results. Our actions and work are inseparable from what we have and what results we will have in the future.
It wasn’t easy to make that decision and use that opportunity, which at the time seemed like merely a doubting chance. But I took that chance and worked hard to succeed in turning this opportunity into the life I dreamed of.
And, this was a life-changing opportunity indeed. It’s been thirteen years that I live a fully transformed life. This photo was taken in the summer of 2004 when I arrived in California to see how I could establish my life. In the picture, my dear friends that became like my family, from left to right: Felicity Doyle, Terry Bell, and me.
I am sharing my story to show that I am not saying a mere inspirational cliché or just a theory. I’ve lived through it. One choice to use the opportunity totally changed the course of my life. And I believe that you paying attention to your opportunity can also be life-changing to you.
I will end my message. But I have a question for you. What is the opportunity in your life that is quietly waiting for you to notice it?
What impact it would have on your life journey if you used that opportunity? What if you step out of your comfort zone and take advantage of it?
While asking that question, I want to note two things that are critical to your decision.
One – pay attention to your focus. Do you focus on possibilities or you prefer to cling to all the reasons why it could not be done? I would not have changed my life IF I had paid more attention to the risk, doubts and numerous reasons why it was impossible to do what I wanted to do. So I urge you to be aware of what you focus on because your mindset will impact your decision.
See clearly in your mind the outcome if you use this opportunity.
What would your life be like if you implement your vision? And, what are the possible ways to fulfill it?
Count your possibilities and what can be done. Think through how you’re going to overcome stumbling blocks.
Pray about it, ask the Lord to show you His will. Put on your imaginary glasses of faith and look at it all through the eyes of faith. What do you see?
Second, interestingly, my biggest opportunities came hidden behind some simple ideas, deep desire, doubting chances, impossible challenges, and through people who seemed ordinary persons with no exceptional wealth, careers or success. Do not neglect the opportunity if it is not yet fully established. Use it and make the best of it.
Your opportunity may be as your diamond, which you have to see in a simple piece of a coal. Did you know that diamonds really are simply carbon, which becomes a beautiful jewel under the conditions of a very high-pressure and temperature? Like that precious stone, precious opportunities might be hidden behind not very attractive ideas, behind only very slightly opened doors and behind hard relentless work. But, if we take those ideas/inspirations and diligently work to make the best of them – they will become like that precious, one-of-a-kind diamond.
Remember, the neglected opportunity does not come back.
I wish you all the best to seize your opportunity and making the best out of it. Your life will never be the same.
And, be strong. Be determined and relentless. Be unstoppable.
Until the next time!