Part of my morning ritual is scrolling through Facebook to see what my friends are up to. Sometimes it makes me laugh. Sometimes it puts items to read or watch on my to-do list for the day. Sometimes there are hardly any updates because I worked until midnight and awoke at 4:30 a.m. to run and, well, I guess I don’t have a lot of West Coast friends.
This morning I saw a philosophical post from a friend of mine which asked the question:
Is life about taking chances or finding chances to take?
And it made me smile. First of all, because she’s thinking about it. This is a young woman recently graduated from college who has a passion for her career path, but can’t quite find the employment break she needs. It’s frustrating. I know from personal experience. Granted, her question of the morning may have nothing to do with her job search, but it’s a potential tipping point in changing the way you think. And as author and speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer has said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Back to the question on taking chances.
Is life about taking them or creating them?
A little of both in my experience.
Opportunities come in front of you every day both big and small. Only opportunity often comes in small, subtle ways which we tend to overlook or ignore. And when those big chances come, well, those can be pretty scary. Those often feel like we’re talking a leap of faith, a jump into the unknown where our greatest fear is that we take the jump and have no place to land and either plunge to our metaphorical death or live in a state of constant free fall. We like to think it takes guts to take chances. In some ways, it does. But the notion of risk is just a story we tell ourselves. We can make up other stories — ones in which taking chances is fun, adventurous and leading to only good things. We can make up a story that the leap of faith takes us to new vistas where we can see things we never had before and see old things from a new angle.
But do chances just come our way? Or do we create them?
In many ways, the opportunities that come into our lives are there because we draw them to us. Like attracts like. Thoughts are things which grow and produce tangible things in our lives, including opportunities to take. The trick is to be patient. The trick is to not force them.
When I’ve decided on something that I want, I tend to get antsy. I start racking my brain looking for ways to make it work, to bring my desired outcome to fruition. Only life doesn’t work that way. The more I push, the more the universe stiffens up because I’ve narrowed the way in which I want it to respond.
There are countless examples of this in training, the most recently for me the embracing of the slow, long run. My easy paced runs are no longer a referendum on how well I will run on race day. When I run those workouts natural and lighter, I’m still working; I’m building a base. Without that solid base, I can’t increase my speed. In one way, I’m letting go to the workout and the universe, but in another very real way, I’m creating through my thought and attitudes and feelings.
Life is about creating our own opportunities by deciding and asking what it is we really want. And then, we let that go to the universe, which always brings us back chances to take.