A discussion of the American Dream will often involve this key ingredient, the thing that moved whole families across the seas, setting forth into an unknown land with a different language, different customs: Opportunity
People came to America with the very idea of opportunity. This great immigration continued, and has continues to this day, with people from all over the globe coming to this land for opportunities they don’t have at home.
What Is Opportunity?
Before we go further let’s define opportunity.
Fit or convenient time; a time favorable for the purpose; suitable time combined with other favorable circumstances. Suitableness of time is the predominant signification, but it includes generally circumstances of place and other conveniences adapted to the end desired.
– Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Opportunity can be found in any situation, the best can often be found in the worst of storms. It is when the right person, with the rights skills and ideas meets their chance, to do what needs to be done.
Some may say that we no longer live in a time with opportunities, there are no new lands to discover, no new inventions to make, but that’s not the mindset of an innovator or an opportunist. The opportunist looks at life and sees what is yet to be done, what things have not yet been accomplished.
Agriculture is where my particular path has lead me, I’ve gotten here by taking the opportunities presented to me and life and finding my niche in them. However, agriculture wasn’t and hasn’t always had the same avenues, but as time changed and the local food movement started it provided a lot of opportunity for smaller farmer’s to sell their food through CSA’s, farmer’s markets, and roadside stands.
I will prepare and someday my chance will come.
– Abraham Lincoln
To prepare here are a few steps:
1. Decide what your looking for and it will be easier to determine what you have to prepare for.
2. Learn and train. Gain not only book knowledge about your profession and goals, but practical skills and abilities. When your chance comes you want to have both the mental and physical capacity for it.
3. Keep an open mind. Sometimes the best opportunities are ones you didn’t expect or anticipate, they may not even be what you wanted to do but are excellent stepping stones to your ultimate goals.
4. Keep your ambition at bay. No one particular likes the over ambitious, they often stink of over-confidence, perhaps even a little cut throat. When your chances come you need to take them with nobility, not arrogance.
5. Learn to do the distasteful. “Don’t despise the day of small beginnings,” my father always told me. Your chances begin with doing the small things, proving your character and worth through doing what seems “unimportant.” Start at the ground floor and work your way up. Most discerning employers and mentors look for such character when determining opportunities.
Chances and opportunities come with explicit and implicit risks, but that’s what makes them chances. There can be great success or great failure, but don’t let that stop you. Remember what Theodore Roosevelt said about failing, “..if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Most people don’t try, don’t take the risk because it could mean failure, but that is an empty existence.
The American Dream was created by men and women who dared greatly, who saw the times ahead when the time was favorable took their chance, the chance of a better life, though filled with toil and effort, for the hope of their future generations.