Complacency Is the Enemy of Opportunity

Security is an illusion. Opportunity is all you have.

Today’s tip may be difficult to accept. After all, you were led to believe that you could find security in teddy bears, blankets, parents, teachers, spouses, leaders, and governments. But you’ve also learned that all those things can let you down.

The natural, normal state of life is insecurity. You’re going to have lots of disappointments and unexpected occurrences. The only real security on this earth is knowing how to spot opportunities and take advantage of them.

Suppose your CEO asked you into her office and said, “We’re taking a new approach in this company. In the past we focused too much on what people knew and what they could do. We’ve learned that no longer works.” You’d probably wonder where the conversation was going, and you’d probably be a little scared.

The CEO goes on to explain this is the “new world of work.” From now on, the company and everyone in it must focus more on sales and less on knowledge and ability. She says that “Knowledge + Ability – Sales = Bankruptcy.” In fact she even has the audacity to say, “Show me someone unconcerned with sales, and I’ll show you someone on a salary.”

If you had enough courage to interrupt your CEO, you’d probably ask what this has to do with you. She says, “Great question. I was waiting for you to ask. I just wanted you to know THAT YOUR FUTURE JOB SECURITY DEPENDS ON YOUR ABILITY TO DEMONSTRATE WAYS YOU CAN HELP THE COMPANY MAKE AND SAVE MONEY. In other words, your primary job from now on is to spot opportunities.”

If you’re an employee, you can expect this kind of conversation to happen in the future. It’s a new world out there. There will be very few jobs in the future in which ability alone will be enough. Most jobs already require ability plus a number of soft skills such as communication, cooperation, and enthusiasm. But expect the jobs of the future to require all that PLUS the FORESIGHT to spot opportunities and take advantage of them.

Action:  For one day, consciously, repeatedly tell yourself, “If it’s working, improve it.” Just let the thought linger for a few seconds, and eventually you will develop the new habit of spotting opportunities.