“It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” This quote by the civil rights activist, Whitney Young, Jr., drives home the idea of staying ready so you don’t have to get ready.
There once was a young photographer. He admired the great photographers and hoped to one day be like them, if not better. He was fortunate enough to study under a master who was willing to train and help sharpen his skills. Unfortunately, his teacher only sent him to photograph small events such as birthday parties and yearbook sessions. All the student ever wanted was a chance to take on some of the more professional engagements rather than “busy work.”
After expressing his frustrations and complaints to his teacher time and time again, he had had enough. He showed up to the shop one day and slammed his equipment on his workstation. He noticed his teacher closely examining the student’s work. He’s never done this before. Unbeknownst to the student, his photographs were receiving negative feedback on the quality of the shots After nervously taking a seat across from his teacher, his teacher began speaking. “Son, to the naked eye, these look fine”. The student began smiling. The teacher continued, “…but to a trained eye, they lack focus, timing, and discipline. That’s the reason why you keep missing your shot”.
Ask yourself, “How many times have I missed my shot?” Did you overlook an opportunity because you complained when your company introduced a new process? Maybe if you had shown up 15 minutes early to work, you would have shown your manager that you’re dependable enough for an assistant manager position. Better yet, what if you had saved your income tax refund for two years and created your own business? These are only a few examples of how we miss our shots.
This story reminds us that we have to stop complaining about what we don’t have and take advantage of the few opportunities that come our way. More importantly, there’s no telling when one will come around again. That’s why we should always have a plan or goal in mind well before we can literally see the opportunity.