Opportunities always come your way. Challenges as well, but the opportunities are harder to see, often disguised. How to decipher what exactly is worthwhile or not is the million dollar question, and no one has a crystal ball.
I can say some people have better antennae than others, but more important, opportunity is seldom in neon signs, flashing as “The Big Deal”. If it is, slow down. Often it is a smaller and more innocuous idea or surrounding. Not mundane, just a bit more obvious, looked at from a sightly different angle.
All big ideas start off as smaller ones-and build. The trick is seeing what is around you and trying not to quickly categorise or shrug it off. If life is in the details, where then are the opportunities??
I thought of such moments of realisation when I watched an interview on YouTube with the late Steve Goodman. Goodman is most well-known for having written the song “City of New Orleans”. He died in his mid 30′s from leukemia, and I suspect lived much more vividly than most of us, hence his “moments” that much more acute. The interviewer asked him how he wrote “that” song.
He said he and his wife took the train (which was named City of New Orleans) to visit her grandmother:
Nancy [his wife] fell asleep, I looked out the window and wrote down some stuff, and it rhymed. Didn’t take too much more than that, about half an hour.
Sometimes you get visited by songs. You don’t have anything to do with them, they just sort of show up.
Here’s the link, and if you want to hear it, it’s at 1:22.
Mothers with their babes asleep,
Are rockin’ to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel.
I love it. Sometimes you get visited by songs..
We all do. It’s whether we have the artistry or insight to know we’re being visited. Not perfectly, not all the time, but they show up. And when they do, how to capture it and not forget.
Steve Goodman was a rara avis, and anyone who could write a classic in 30 minutes (the only song to rhyme “odyssey” with “Kankakee”..) knew how to capture and paint the moment.
We’re all capable of doing the same thing. Don’t look down or straight ahead all the time. Those moments may well be on your shoulder or outside the window, very often much closer to you than you think..
Written by Neal Horwitz, MD of Henry Hale Maguire
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