What is an “opportunity?”

Opportunityopportunity way
1 : a favorable juncture of circumstances
2 : a good chance for advancement or progress

One of my best friends, Andrew Smith of James Madison University, told me a great story reinforcing my disposition that “opportunity” is around us all of the time.

“Tonight at the JMU vs. Towson basketball game, a guy came up to me. He asked if I wanted to shoot a half court shot for a prize, so I took the opportunity and made the shot; I won an mp3 player, a gift certificate to an electronics store, and a free chick-fil-a meal!! Life is good!”

Most of us would have said “no.” Maybe, Andrew wouldn’t have said “no” to a half court shot, because he knows it’s the only shot he can make. What if it was a different context? What if Andrew was asked by a friend to drive 20 minutes to pick him up? Would he have said “yes”? On the surface, it seems like a terrible choice to be made. However, if you have the optimistic outlook like Andrew does, you can see opportunity in everything. He could drive 20 minutes, pick up his friend, stop to grab food on the way back, bump into a long lost friend / or meet someone intriguing / or find a potential employer / or simply help someone out.

Why do you suggest there are no antonyms for “opportunity”? Because the word is completely positive. I shouldn’t say no antonyms, because it depends where you look. I found these fascinating descriptors for antonyms: omission, lapse, neglect, leave undone. Why negative words? Because if you miss an opportunity you have done yourself a great injustice. Go back to the 20 minute drive example. Meeting a long lost friend is a “favorable juncture.” Meeting someone intriguing is a “favorable juncture.” Meeting a potential employer involved a “good chance of progress” for one’s career. Simply helping someone is a “favorable juncture.” If you look at every moment as an “opportunity,” an opportunity will find you at every moment.

We tell ourselves opportunities are rare. When in fact, it’s not that they are rare; it’s that we fail to see and then act on the countless amount encountered everyday. Just remember, you can’t make the shot until you take the opportunity. Start with a positive outlook and opportunities will find you.


Shane says in short: Back to the title of the blog post: “what is an opportunity?” It really doesn’t matter. The true question is: what will you do when you have one? Will you fail to act again out of fear, embarrassment, or hard work? Or, will you accept the gift of opportunity and do something big? The choice is yours.


~ by shanemccarty on January 22, 2009.

One Response to “What is an “opportunity?””

  1. […] Day in Richmond After hearing my friend’s story of how he took an opportunity, I figured it was my turn. Members of our Student Government and other organizations from Virginia […]

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