When we’re inundated with opportunities, they consume our time, energy and focus. First, you rule out the good from bad. Next, you weigh the good and go off on mental visions of how life would be if you said yes. This is the stage when frustration and anxiety can enter. Before this opportunity dropped in your lap you were cruising along, but now you have something to gain or lose. Indecision enters and your energy and time fleet out quickly like a faucet left on.
I am constantly presented with opportunities. Many of you have experienced me running with some of them. Some were great, others flopped that's the nature of taking a chance. What I want to touch upon is the difficulty of saying no to opportunities and the maturity that takes.
Not all opportunities should be taken. When one comes this question now helps me significantly.
Does this opportunity overly complicate things?
There’s an art to beautiful simplicity. When you say the word simplicity you likely will either exhale, feeling calm, or you will tighten, experiencing bad feelings like laziness. I used to feel the latter. Here’s a good visual to explain why it wasn’t the best approach.
Imagine you are floating on the Nile river in Egypt on a small boat they call a felucca. All the opportunities and directions you subdivide yourself into are tributaries flowing off of the mighty Nile. These tributaries drain the Nile shallow and the currents soften. To move you must paddle hard in any direction, all on your own effort. Instead imagine there are no tributaries, just one direction flowing down river. The water staying in one direction deepens and the current picks up. Now your paddle is not used to move but guide your direction. Sit back and let the mighty Nile move you forward and enjoy the exhilaration!
This is what simplicity can be. It’s not lazy but focused direction creating exhilaration from faster movement with less effort on your part. Don’t drain yourself into so many tributaries that you wear thin and get nowhere. Let the current take you.
Bill and I sailed the Nile on a felucca. I’ve experienced this vision. I’ve drained my river by saying yes too many times to opportunities. This visual was done in a coaching session with my coach. I share it with you as I have learned to reign in my thrill of opportunities choosing focused efforts instead. Since then we’ve merged our companies into one, made steps to simplify our personal life, finances and obligations. That energy has been replaced with interests in the one direction. We didn’t give up the thrill of opportunities; instead they have been replaced with even greater ones that support our river.
Embrace simplicity; let it be a welcome exhale of calm replacing our societies pent up tight go go go pressure. Sit in the maturity of saying no to shiny opportunities with the knowledge that it will drain your river. When the right opportunity comes, you’ll know because you’ll feel the current pick-up underneath you.
Enjoy this picture of a true felucca I took while sailing the Nile.