How Do You Recognize an Opportunity?

October 28, 2011 — 2 Comments

How do you recognize an opportunity?

Yesterday I learned the answer to this question from Kendall Summerhawk and I am going to share it with you!

I have been bombarded with the answer ever since.

Several times a week I drive by a street and just last night while stopped at a traffic light I looked up and saw a street sign. I asked my partner if the city had changed the name of
the street because I didn’t recognize it. The street name was the same, it was me that was different. I saw it.

This morning I decided I was going to write a blog post and was rolling three ideas around in my head. While pondering which to write about I stopped at my desk and popped in to check on my email and Facebook pages. There at the top of my personal newfeed in Facebook was a post from my friend Kecia Joy in Maui…that post is the picture that accompanies this post. “If you are waiting for a sign THIS IS IT”

So the answer to the question “How do you recognize an opportunity?” is…drumroll please…Because you can see it!

How many bits and pieces of information do we receive in a day? Are they even quantifiable? Although I have not researched it, I doubt we can quantify them because many of bits of information are taken in by us below a conscious level. For those numbers people let’s look at a quantifiable illustration from social media – Twitter. Twitter is a micro message social media platform that demonstrates staggering statistics. reported that on October 17, 2011 there were 250 million tweets per day which is about 175,000 tweets per minute or about 50 tweets a second! Simply astounding. In Twitter there are filters that we can define and apply to sort through the most relevant information to us.

The same is true for people. We have filters. We have learned to selectively attend to certain pieces of information that are important to us at that moment in time. Unlike Twitter we can’t always define what those filter parameters are because we may not even be consciously aware of what needs our attention.  How many harried Moms or Dads have said yes to something like “Can I paint the dog blue?” because they weren’t attentive at the time when asked. What if the exact same situation was in place and only the question differed. Supposed they were asked “Can I light the barbeque?” I would guess that most likely the parental response would not be the same because something
within alerts us to the fact that we have to pay attention.

In the many pieces of information that come to us daily if something stands out and presents itself to you as an opportunity. It likely is because otherwise it would not have had
your attention. Begin looking for the opportunities that present themselves to you daily. When you start recognizing them you just can consciously decide to take action and seize them or dismiss them. Either way you get to choose. How cool is that?

For more information on selective attention simply psychology offers an interesting post or you can test your attention using this famous video now available on YouTube.




Dr Susan Ziebarth


2 responses to How Do You Recognize an Opportunity?

  1. This blog is so correct! I have a story to share under the same subject!
    I have often had leftover potatoes in the refrigerator waiting to be reheated for another meal. Always passed over and sent to the back of the refrigerator, I pulled them out one day and asked my ever inattentive daughter what it was? She replied sarcastically, potatoes mom. My response to this reply, while ignoring the sarcasm was “no hun, it’s opportunity!”
    She looked at me with belligerence and said how’s that?
    With a squeal of laughter to wash away the negativity, I said, “this my dear is an opportunity to make your scrambled eggs a breakfast by frying them and eating them as a side dish, all crispy and golden, yum!”
    She laughed as she stopped texting and replied, “You’re right, I didn’t see it that way!”
    Not only did I open her eyes to an opportunity for her to enjoy breakfast and for me to get rid of these leftovers that might finally waste away in the compost pile, I was able to lighten her attitude and outlook for the rest of her day to be cheerful as well!
    Cheers, Catherine
    So you are right Susan, opportunities abound! What are we open for?

    • Dr Susan Ziebarth October 31, 2011 at 3:34 pm

      Fantastic story Catherine! Not a small task sometimes trying to lighten the attitude of daughter. Your story reminded me of Polyanna. Susan Jeffers in her book Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway highlights how describing someone as a Polyanna is normally disparaging. Polyanna is a story of a young girl who makes a game of something to be glad about in all situations. Makes you wonder why culturally we tend to believe this is a bad thing doesn’t it?

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