Judge Lawrence Huerta: Enriching Our Lives
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Enriquezca Su Vida
(Enriching Your Life)

A self-published book by Judge Lawrence Huerta
©1968.

translation by Anthony Nuño, 1999.

CHAPTER XV:
"THE VALUE OF OPPORTUNITIES"

"Whatever men do in life, I don't think there is such a thing as favorable luck, but instead, there is one that is adverse unless they do something about it."

-- G. K. CHESTERTON

"He who attracts luck is due to the magnet of his preparation."

-- G. K. CHESTERTON

I have heard and read countless facts about President Abraham Lincoln. I have not known of any discourses in which opportunity came knocking at his door. On the contrary, he just like any one else had to go out that door and enter the world of competitiveness and cooperation searching for opportunities.

It is very common to hear people say, "I have not had any opportunities," or, "I was born at the wrong time and place." These people will rationalize and continue their careless attitude. It is necessary to act and accomplish if one desires to find opportunities. But one must constantly keep searching if one wants to find opportunities.

With the purpose of "creating" opportunities, Benjamin Franklin designed a plan by writing his ideas and then putting them into action. It is obvious some of the ideas are more complex. If your ideas and plans are important to you, do not skip any of the steps in your plan of action. We should always be evaluating our plan of action.The best thing is to develop a strategy just as if you were planning a military attack. If the plan does not prove practical, then one should retreat, reorganize and recharge with a revised plan.

It is not advisable to be searching for opportunities without having an appropriate plan and preparation. Let me ask you, have you acquired sufficient instruction and education? Have you considered taking a correspondence course or an evening class? Have you tried to learn new skills lately? If you have not done so, go ahead and do it. Additional skills will strengthen and expand your horizons and opportunities. During these times of computerized technology, it is an undeniable fact that all those who have been replaced by machines will have to find new positions in unknown fields. Technological advances will not decrease. On the contrary, they will increase, allowing people more leisure time than ever before in history. The rational person will use this leisure time in a correct manner by becoming active, doing less talking and more taking action. Of course, this person will have dreams, but their projects will incorporate these dreams into reality. The will and strength to carry out these plans come from within not from outside.

Here is an aphorism written by an old eastern wise man, Omar Ebn Al Halif: "Four things never return: the spoken word, the shot arrow, past time, and wasted opportunities." This other statement was given by Alcaeus who lived 600 B.C. "It is not the finely constructed buildings, nor the stone houses, nor the water channels what constitutes the city but the men who seize the opportunities".

Look back in history and observe the generation of brave men and women who grasped the opportunities. If it would not have been for them, what kind of civilization would we have today? These people who played a vital role in the development of our American society seized the opportunity of their time. William James, who was an early American philosopher and psychologist wrote the following during the 19th century, "It does not matter how complete the collection of high ideals and how good our feelings are if we do not take advantage of a concrete opportunity.In the same manner, our character remains unchallenged. Hell is filled with people with good intentions who did not carry out their plans".

How many opportunities have you let slip by because of the lack of action and involvement? Of course, these opportunities are long gone, but don't despair, there will be other ones. Then, you would be ready to seize them and utilize them. Prepare yourself to take advantage of these opportunities. Develop your capabilities and potential. If your condition is healthy and positive, age is no barrier. We hear these days of more mature people who finally accomplished what they wished for in their long life. I have personally known people who have received their college degrees in the autumn of their lives.Thus, there is no acceptable excuse if your desire is genuine.

You probably will not find these opportunities within the confinement of your home, although, there have been cases where people did find them there. Free your imagination and let curiosity guide it. Haven't you been surprised about useful things you have discovered about yourself? Perhaps all you need to do is to let one of your ingenious ideas out. Then you might have caught the tiger by the tail and will not let him escape.

Only each person can limit his own opportunities. Nobody else can. The very well known life story of the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen is a perfect example of an individual who prepared himself and searched for opportunities. Ever since he was a boy, he showed a keen interest in the exploration of the North Pole. He learned everything scientific related to the North and South Poles and their magnetic properties. Equipped with all this information, he entered the Norwegian Navy and fulfilled his ambition. He became the first man to reach the South Pole, he did not accomplish this task just because of his good luck. His success was mainly due to the acquired scientific knowledge about the poles and his attention to minute details. A great part of his success was due to his perseverance, concentration, positive attitude and his ability to search and seize the opportunity. Consequently, I think you can understand how important it is that we search for opportunities and obtain the maximum benefits from them. I believe there are only a few individuals in history whose ambition was to reach the South Pole. However, if we only invest half of the energy that Amundsen invested in his conquest, we would accomplish our desires and would certainly accomplish something great in our lives. Don't allow yourself to drift on the sea of hopelessness. Position your objectives and sail directly towards them. You will encounter storms but stay afloat and manage the waves. There is always calm after the storm.

If opportunity does not knock at your door, I assure you it could be waiting for you in other places. I guarantee it. As long as you search for opportunities you will find them before you get to the end of your journey, be ready to seize them.

WHEN YOU FORESEE AN OPPORTUNITY:

Do you grasp it or do you wait until another person grasps it and takes advantage of this opportunity?

WHAT IS YOUR ATTITUDE REGARDING YOUR MISTAKES?

Do you learn from your past mistakes and do you improve the quality of your work by learning from your mistakes?

ARE YOU METICULOUS IN YOUR WORK?

Are you carrying out any additional training to better your work? Are you adequately prepared in case of a promotion?

DO YOU FIND HAPPINESS IN YOUR WORK?

Do you try to be pleasant around work?

CHAPTER XVI