Exercising is not one of my favorite pastimes but I know it's good for me. So every day I try to get outside and take a 2-mile walk. Most days I carry a small notebook and pen with me so that I can jot down the random brilliant thoughts that come to me as I stroll around the neighborhood.
A few weeks ago I was rounding a corner about half way through my walk and noticed a nickel in the road. I adjusted my gait so that I stepped on the shiny coin and kept walking.
Within a few steps I started thinking of my daughter who always stops to pick up loose change. She wouldn't have passed this one by. I was half tempted to turn around and go back for it, but I thought it would be embarrassing if someone happened to see me stooping down to pick up a nickel.
It didn't take long for me to transition my thoughts from that nickel to those small opportunities that have been in front of me that I've stepped on or passed by. How many have I overlooked because I thought they were insignificant? How many have I been too embarrassed to attempt? How many have I stepped on because I wanted to show the world they were unworthy of my attention?
Later that day I told my daughter about the nickel incident because it was continued to weigh on my mind. She didn't say, "Don't worry about it. It was only a nickel." She did say, "I would have picked it up. Did you know that one day at school I found over a dollar in change on the floor?"
She had taken advantage of seemingly small opportunities. But when added up, they became something worthwhile. In my daughter's case, she was able to buy a can of soda from the vending machine at school-something she wouldn't have been able to do otherwise.
The next morning I paid attention as I walked that same stretch of road. I was determined to pick up that nickel if I saw it again. But alas, it was gone. Not surprising I guess. Someone else is usually willing to take advantage of the opportunities that others choose to pass by. Unfortunately by the time I decided to take advantage of it, the opportunity was no longer there.
Of course not every opportunity is one that I want to stop and pick up. Some merely resemble something that would help me achieve my goals in life, the way that bottle caps, from a distance, look a lot like coins. But some we recognize immediately as worthwhile yet we still choose to walk by them.
Since the day I walked past that nickel in the road, I've been more attuned to opportunities that surround me. I've been paying attention to my response to them. Instead of quickly discounting the ones that appear to be small payoffs, I'm looking at the bigger picture. What can a small opportunity add to what I already have going on? How can a small opportunity serve as the beginning of something bigger?
What a great life lesson! And it only cost me a nickel.
The self-defeating attitude or behavior:
Seeing opportunities without appreciating their value.
To pause long enough to determine which opportunities could really benefit your long term goals.
Copyright © 2005 Donna Doyon
Donna Doyon, Activities Coordinator for Your Virtual Retreat is the author of GLOW: Renew Your Spirit & Release Your Inner Beauty. She offers information, inspiration and encouragement to people who want to say goodbye to self defeating attitudes and behaviors and hello to greater success, healthier relationships and more joyful living.
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