The present-day offers much talk of freedom and rights, both worth discussing.
What about opportunities?
The emotion-infused conversation of our time sometimes leaves out ways of improving our lives that are less conflictual and more within our control.
Considering the following as a reframing of how to change your personal world. It involves the art of possibility, but first, let me tell you a story:
Two shoe salesmen were sent to Africa over 100 years ago by two different British shoe companies. Back then, Africa was a very primitive place, and these men were sent to its most primitive locations.
The salesman from the first company wrote back to his home office in despair:
SITUATION HOPELESS. PEOPLE DON’T WEAR SHOES HERE!
The second salesman also contacted his office, but his message was rather different:
GLORIOUS OPPORTUNITY. THE PEOPLE HERE DON’T HAVE SHOES YET!
We are talking about what is in your hands and how you look at things. You might think of the list below as an incomplete catalog of chances to be framed, chosen, and enacted by you.
You needn’t ask permission except from yourself.
YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO:
- Be kind.
- Share your good fortune with others if it comes your way.
- Learn you can do hard things by doing them, not waiting until you feel perfectly ready.
- Look at your possible errors or mistaken ideas before you blame someone else. The mirror is handy.
- Grow in your capability and humanity.
- Realize life is short. Make the best of the time you have.
- Do the thing you think you cannot do.
- Know yourself.
- Seek support in a difficult time.
- Make yourself known to others by speaking, smiling, and joining. Friendships will follow.
- Know Rilke’s poetic wisdom: “You must change your life.” So he wrote to all of us.
- Take chances without certainty of the results. Realize there is never certainty.
- Smile at the people who serve you and call them by name.
- Say no when necessary, but say yes to life.
- Grow, especially from challenging experiences. Challenges are relative. Choose your starting point.
- Make others happy and pleased to see you without becoming a doormat.
- Tell people you love they are loved.
- Explain your gratitude and appreciation for their presence in your life.
- Offer help to those in need.
- Recreate yourself as one who commands respect without instilling fear in others.
- Defeat your fears.
- Make yourself able to be reckoned with in thoughtful discussions without becoming rude.
- Learn to tell a joke.
- Laugh, including at yourself.
- Learn how and when to become a listener. Both are important.
- Embrace your fellow man.
- Treat yourself with kindness.
- Tell the truth.
- Get used to being rejected. It is part of the human condition.
- Seek sexual enjoyment, but do not objectify your partner.
- Search for love and look for what is lovable in others.
- You will be defeated. This is another outcome we all share. Keep trying.
- Enrich your life — learn from great books and free virtual classes* where you can hear stirring speeches, discover history and nature, and follow tutorials on making things.
- Discover visual art, stunning photography**, and music.
- Provide your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews the gift of leaving them a beautiful home: the Earth.
Please add your own items.
Then, before the thought escapes you, begin!
* You can enjoy and educate yourself online. Check out https://www.coursera.org/ It offers many free virtual classes taught by instructors from some of the most outstanding universities in the world.
If your local public library subscribes to Kanopy.com/, you can watch some of the greatest (and hardest to find) domestic and foreign films, both recent and classic, on the Kanopy website.
A library card will allow you to watch as many as 10 per month without charge.
**The two photos above display the artistic gifts of Laura Hedien, with her permission: Laura Hedien Official Website. Both date from this year.
The first offers a Summertime Sunset on the Great Plains, while the second is from the Italian Dolomites. Consider these another of many discoveries and opportunities on the World Wide Web.