You Missed Your Chance, Can You Bring It Back?

by Anne Dorko

The clock catches the corner of your eye. You’re late. A wall of regret hits you when you realize that today was your last chance… but you missed it by an hour.

Your whole day will be ruined now: A cloud of dispair is going to follow you. You missed your chance at a great opportunity and you feel awful.

Great chances are passing you every day. There are chances surrounding you, in every moment, in every situation. You have to seek those chances out. The possibility of chance is in the air right now, waiting for you to shape it into something that matters.

Chances are everywhere. Chance is the possibility of an opportunity.

The sooner you start looking for chances, the sooner you will see them. You will develop a vision for chance – the same way that ninjas develop methods for seeing in the dark, when the shadows allow them to carry out even the most dangerous missions.

You Can’t Live Without Night Vision

ninja night vision

Military units and ninja warriors train for every setting they will run into. They train during the hottest days, during the coldest days, in the desert, in forests, in jungles, in urban areas. They prepare for every case they can. If they don’t, they will die.

Until the advent of night vision goggles, night training was probably one of the most unique and tricky experiences of all.

Chance works the same way. You have to actively train so that when it presents itself, you can get the most out of it. If you can’t see it, you’ll never experience its potential. If you don’t train, you will never truly live.

The chance for opportunity is everywhere.

Every chance you ever missed is gone, forever.

You only have the right now. The current moment.

Your next breath is not a sure thing. Your tomorrow may never come. If you didn’t seize the moment that just passed, it slipped through your fingers – never to be seen again.

It’s overwhelming. It’s even a little bit sad. Do not make the mistake of wasting your current moment by regretting the last one.

The only thing to do is to open your eyes, starting right now. Can you see?

Chance Doesn’t Favor Good People

ninja chance favors nobody

Espionage is the practice of collecting knowledge. Ninja warriors spent their lives dedicated to the practice of espionage. Espionage missions are a lot like chances. The opportunity to go on an espionage mission and collect information is always there.

Whether a mission is carried out at all depends on the ninja warrior in charge.

Chance is merely the actual possibility of an event. It can happen. In some cases, it does happen.

Who will it happen to? Will it happen to you? Will it happen to someone better than you? Will it happen to someone who doesn’t deserve it? Who decides where opportunity presents itself? Are some people just lucky?

Chance is not luck.

Luck is what people have after they can see opportunity. Luck is what they call it when people take advantage of their possibilities. The opportunity was always there. The possibilities existed the whole time. The only difference is that some people can see it, and others can’t.

You always have a chance. But do you have the vision to see it?

Everyone else is luckier than you, if you want them to be.

Every chance comes with a window of time. Every chance has a “use by” date.

If you’re too scared to take advantage of your chances, you’ll find that your life is pretty boring. The people around you will be having exciting adventures, taking on fun challenges, while you’re sitting there in your safe box.

You want what they have.

You tell yourself that they have unfair advantages that you don’t have. They were blessed with more talent. They have better education. They have a normal family history. They have a support team. They have been luckier than you. They have a more likable personality. They have better social skills.

If you’re not willing to get out of your safe box, open your eyes, and go exploring even when it’s dark out, you’re going to keep being unlucky. Nothing new will happen to you. Because chance doesn’t pick people. People pick chance.

Regardless of their story, people still pick their chances. How else do rags-to-riches stories exist? How else do people who were handed sure success… fail?

If chance doesn’t pick people, it means that we’re not talking about fair. Chance can’t be fair when it’s up to you to do something about it.

If you want fair, you have to be fair to yourself – and give yourself a chance.

You are worth the risk. You are worth the chance. You have what it takes. You just have to see it for yourself.

Building Night Vision Goggles

ninja develop night vision

A ninja warrior doesn’t sit around waiting for an espionage mission to land in their lap.

A ninja warrior makes the first move, every time. A ninja warrior has open eyes, open ears and is constantly thinking about what their options are.

A ninja warrior asks “What if?”

  • What if I say hello to the person next to me?
  • What if I apply to the job I’m scared of?
  • What if I practice speaking in front of a group?
  • What if I teach a topic I love?
  • What if I train in the skills I’ve always wanted?
  • What if I stopped hating myself?
  • What if I tried to change the world?
  • What if I stopped worrying about whether I’m good enough?
  • What if I changed my schedule?
  • What if I exercised every day?
  • What if I wrote 500 words every day?
  • What if I woke up 15 minutes earlier?
  • What if I prioritized sleep?

…on the other end of every “What If?” is a chance.

A chance to take life and do it on your own terms. A chance to change. A chance for doing something different. A chance for loving yourself. A chance for making a friend.

The risks of taking a chance.

Right now you’ve got a specific memory searing in your mind, you want to scream out your story and tell the whole damned world that you tried taking a chance and you regret it even today because you got burned.

You were burned badly.

The problem with living is that we’re not sure how to deal with failure. How do we deal with people who do us wrong? How do we deal with mistakes we make?

It’s simple, but not easy: We learn that failure happens, and then we go on living.

Because by never taking a chance, you’re not really living at all, are you?

By never asking “What If?” about the things that make you unhappy, you’re burning yourself worse than anyone else ever could.

You can’t change the chances that have already come and gone. You can’t change the position you’ve been placed in for this moment.

You can make this moment count.

You can open your eyes and ask “What If?”

You can change the way you make choices.

You can stop thinking you matter less than other people.

You can be yourself.

You can see the chances that are there every day. The perfect chance is the one that you see, the one that you take.

What chance is on the other side of your What If?

First published November 26, 2012

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