How to Recognize Opportunity?


Are you wondering how to recognize opportunity, how it looks like and where to search for it?
You are not alone in this quest.

John C. Maxwell explained it masterfully in his best seller Failing Forward:

[…] opportunity is a peculiar thing. Two people with similar gifts, talents and resources can look at a situation, and one person will see tremendous opportunity while the other sees nothing. Opportunity is in the eye of the beholder.

So there’s where opportunity was hiding? In plain sight? But only some will recognize opportunity for what it is. Opportunity is personal to them and won’t look the same to others.

I remember now of a famous picture with origins in the 18th century. What’s the first thing you see, the old or the young woman?
old woman young woman

If you say the young woman, there are many others who will see the old woman first. And vice versa. Some will never see the alternative, even when explained how you can interpret the picture in the other way. I saw the old woman first by the way, and it took a while to see the young woman too…

This also applies to recognizing opportunity. Some will see it well-ahead of the rest. Many others will begin to recognize it in time, with help. And some will continue to deny or ignore it, despite all efforts of the pioneers who first noticed it.

We all know the expression window of opportunity. Which means opportunity is not only personal, but also ephemeral. What is an opportunity today, may not be there tomorrow and reappear the next day. Or not.

Opportunity is also surprising. It may present itself when you’re not looking, trying something else, meditating, sleeping, or taking a shower. When you have your back against the wall, more likely than when everything is peachy. Be ready to be surprised, or you’ll miss it out.

Actually, the discovery of an opportunity may be surprising. But it takes time, planning and execution to transform it into reality, more often than not.

Wouldn’t it be simpler if opportunity would carry a sign like the one in the picture at the beginning of the blog post? But if it would be so easily identifiable and attainable, then it wouldn’t really be an opportunity, would it? Sometimes opportunities carry “signs”, we are just not looking or too lazy to do what it takes to grab them.

Related Articles

Personal Development


About Adrian Gurgui
Creator of, I enjoy working from home and having a flexible schedule. My mission: to grow myself, then teach and help others to step up and inspire them to offer help at their turn.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


CommentLuv badge