People commonly mistake suggestions and ideas as opportunities. Opportunities can’t be well defined until after they have been proven to actually be an opportunity that has benefited us in some way. Using the example of sculpting, let me explain what I mean.
Sculpting is something I know little about other than what I see. A blob of clay that a sculptor molds into something beautiful using their hands. Wet and dirty is their work while hidden in a blob is their vision for what the clay can become.
Handing me the same blob of clay will keep it looking the exact same way or maybe worse. It’s not so much that I don’t know the techniques, but more importantly I see nothing in the clay I was handed.
Conversations, ideas, discoveries, random meetings, connections or even a chapter of a book are all types of raw material for our own opportunities. They are the clay that we are given. They resemble the sculptor’s clay but deceive us in teasing us what the opportunities could become. Without ever working the surface and the depth that a blob of clay offers. We selectively hear other people’s perception of an opportunity without ever developing our own vision. That is why sharing most opportunities is harmless. We never develop our own vision to make it happen. Nor are we willing to put in the work to uncover it.
Our consumer habit makes us rush to the finish line to buy the opportunity we think we see. Yet we underestimate the need for us, too, to get wet and dirty in trying to uncover the vision that we believe is there beneath the surface of the raw materials of opportunity we were handed.
Nothing is ever as simple as it sounds. No raw material ever becomes a finished product without some intermediate steps. The funny thing is all of us are exposed to many raw materials of opportunity but miss them without fail because we don’t take the time to see what they can become. This is true throughout our lives.
Clay is quite boring. Neither digital nor vibrant. Yet it’s imagery is powerful, as it reminds us of the need to put in the effort to find the beauty & vision in our life’s work each and every day.