Identifying life’s opportunities
Opportunity has always been a mystifying phenomenon to me. You know? one never really knows when it’s going to show up and when it does ...
Opportunity has always been a mystifying phenomenon to me. You know? one never really knows when it’s going to show up and when it does sometimes its hard to recognize. That’s how I feel about Panama. I’ll explain?
There’s a famous quote reported to have been originated by Fernando de Rojas (c. 1465-1541) a Spanish author and playwright from Toledo, Spain that states, “When one door closes, fortune will usually open another.” Over time, that quote has been modified in many ways. For example, the most common derivative these days is “When one door closes, another opens.” It has also been adapted to this other well-known proverb, “Opportunity knocks but once,” which dates back to an eighth-century AD axiom stating, “When you see an opportunity to improve your lot, act quickly and resolutely – you may never get another chance.”
That’s what is so great, but equally so frustrating about ‘opportunity’. It’s this illusive occurrence that often defies logic. How do you recognize opportunity? How do you know if it’s the right course of action to take? Is it all about timing, or can it be put off until tomorrow? Is it pure luck or the result of a well thought out strategic plan?
According to Rupert Murdoch, “only hard work initiates opportunity”. Eleanor Roosevelt believed that “if one prepared oneself, then one would be able to recognize and grasp opportunity when it appears.”
Helen Keller took a much more philosophical approach to opportunity by relating it directly to happiness, stating, "When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."
So? how does this relate to Panama? Well from my point of view, opportunity is around every corner and at almost every doorstep within Panama. It just takes patience and understanding to see it clearly. But trust me, this was not an immediate revelation and it took some hard doses of reality to properly appreciate it.
How I learned about Panama, saw opportunity and ultimately made the decision to establish a business in this thriving country has been a challenging, perplexing and exciting experience, but not unlike anywhere else when starting a new business.
As an American, I personally think that we often forget that there are deep-seated country differences as opportunities permit some of us to travel throughout the world. Oh, I don’t mean the obvious language, food and physical appearance differences. I’m talking about the more subtle but exceedingly important cultural differences that can only be learned and appreciated with time.
I can only attest to personal experiences in Panama, but if I try to chase opportunity I’ll rarely catch it. However, if I take the time to do my homework and to carefully structure an innovative plan that appeals to cultural understanding - opportunity frequently presents itself.
As Winston Churchill once said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” I concur with that wisdom as well as another proverb made famous by Thomas Edison, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
From my perspective, opportunity is a product of fate that could easily be missed if we do not keep an open mind, a hungry eye, a Rolodex of acquaintances, a thirst for the new and not be afraid of change.
Panama is all of this. One just needs to go out and knock on its door to find it. Another way of putting it is with this Irish expression? “many an opportunity is lost because a man is out looking for four-leaf clovers.” So, keep looking straight ahead and not at your feet. Opportunity will be sure to follow.
Rob Kircher is an International marketing and advertising specialist, writer and filmmaker and welcomes comments.
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