The first chapter of Orison Swett Marden’s “Pushing to the front” challenges the reader to spot, and to take, opportunity. It is packed with inspirational quotes and stories…

“If we succeed, what will the world say?” asked Captain Berry in delight, when Nelson had explained his carefully formed plan before the battle of the Nile.

“There is no if in the case,” replied Nelson. “That we shall succeed is certain. Who may live to tell the tale is a very different question.” Then, as his captains rose from the council to go to their respective ships, he added: “Before this time tomorrow I shall have gained a peerage or Westminster Abbey.” His quick eye and daring spirit saw an opportunity of glorious victory where others saw only probable defeat.

Life is full of challenges, but the successful leader frames them as opportunities and seizes them. You don’t have to wait for something extraordinary to come along, everyday presents enough opportunity for the person with open eyes. Opportunity is everywhere, if you can’t see it, then make it. In today’s society people, focus on making money rather than opportunity. People work for money and expect it to bring opportunity, or to be an end. That is an error of reversal. Seek opportunity first and make the most of what you are given. Marden says:

Wealth is not an end to strive for, but an opportunity; not the climax of a man’s career, but an incident.

Be prepared for opportunity, and take it!

"There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures."

"'Tis never offered twice; seize, then, the hour
When fortune smiles, and duty points the way;
Nor shrink aside to 'scape the specter fear,
Nor pause, though pleasure beckon from her bower;
But bravely bear thee onward to the goal."

- From Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare