We Can’t Change Our Opportunities, but We Can Change Our Attitude

· December 29, 2017

They say some opportunities are once in a lifetime, but how do we know which ones are worth taking? We can’t take every single opportunity that shows up.

Many people work hard for stability. They look for a stable job and a reliable car. However, they still focus on what they lack. They are perpetually dissatisfied, like they could have had more.

They face the eternal dilemma of choosing to fight for the life they want or stick with the safe and stable. It’s the constant lament of “this is not what I dreamed of.” They may start each day with a light step but frustration takes over by the end of the day.

The philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset warned us in his book, The Rebellion of the Masses, of the danger of specialization. Women and men highly qualified in a specific area, but unable to see the big picture or how it fits into the world.

It happens to everyone. How many times have we felt paralyzed by too many opportunities? Paralyzed by the fear of giving up the comfortable for something that only might be better.

Sometimes we just have to grab the only opportunity we have in front of us and ignore our fears. And  sometimes when opportunities run out, the best option becomes clear: to live life as it comes. 

The difference between acceptance and resignation

If we want a better attitude, we must first ask ourselves one important question: what is the difference between acceptance and resignation? They may seem similar at first, but they are as different as oil and water.

Acceptance is the first step to change. It has to do with putting that marker where we actually are on the map, whether we like it or not.


a girl in a field of wheat, pondering opportunities

Acceptance is also the first step to adaptation when you have no way to change your situation. In this sense, it has to do with acknowledging our past.

For example, for someone who lost a leg in an accident, acceptance is a huge step toward re-adaptation and the changes they will have to make in their life. It also represents a huge step when it comes to accepting that your past is part of you.

Resignation, on the other hand, involves frustration and hopelessness. This frustration usually turns into an inability to move. We feel like there is no possible way to change our life, so we must live with it — even if we hate it.

And so we may find a thousand opportunities to get out of a bad situation, but none of them seem perfect. We resign ourselves to our fate. We almost want to suffer, just so we can complain.

Maybe when we reach the limit of our suffering, we’ll accept one of the possible options even though it’s not ideal. Of course, for the person who has lost his leg, his ideal alternative would be to get it back. Unfortunately, this is not an option.

When all the ideal opportunities are exhausted, the best option becomes clear: a change of attitude. We have to reevaluate our options, knowing that none is perfect. If an option takes away our pain, it’s worth considering, even if it doesn’t seem perfect. 

If we’re exhausted and have no motivation, we’ll see no possible paths to follow. Change takes effort, and we need daily motivation to make that effort possible.

Our effort usually has a reward, but when we’re dealing with the unknown, that might not be enough to motivate us.

Perhaps we need to lower our expectations slightly. Create a more simple, honest plan that will make our path easier. Reality might not meet the expectations our imagination set for it, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be good.

Don’t focus on what doesn’t exist

I know countless people who walked an unexpected path and are happy. They enjoy their situation, they accept temporary changes, and they ignore the negative things people say. And anyway, these comments often come from people who just like judging others.

These brave people have made sweet lemonade out of the lemons life handed them. They take care of themselves. They take the reins of their lives and enjoy the little pleasures it offers. 

a girl holding a clock

It’s a very fine line that separates striving for a better life and eternally criticizing the life you do have. However, while it’s fine, it is also important.

There are no jobs, homes, or relationships that are unworthy by themselves. It’s our attitudes and actions that make them so. In our quest for perfection, we see everything we have as less than. We become bitter.

Luckily, some of us have learned the importance of taking an extra minute to make ourselves a nice cup of coffee in the morning. To live in the present while building a future.

They didn’t find any perfect opportunities so they made the best of the opportunities they did have and adopted a more positive attitude. They chose the attitude of living — not of surviving.