One of most powerful ways to change your life and the lives of others is by spotting opportunities for improvement. Opportunity is in front of your eyes – right now – and you don’t see it. So how do you open your eyes wider? How do you see the hidden opportunity that exists everywhere in your environment?
· Develop relationships with highly creative people – Creative people see opportunity everywhere and their insight will rub off on you. The best way to learn to see a world of possibilities is to hang out with people that spend most of their time actively creating things. People who create art, literature, businesses, graphics, websites, ideas, music, markets, products, or anything else constructive. Find ways to spend your days and nights talking about creative ideas and thinking about possibilities. With Web 2.0 and social media your opportunity to meet other creative people and share ideas is greater than ever before in human history. No matter where you are, if you can connect to the internet, you can meet and hobnob with creative people from every corner of the globe. What an amazing possibility this is. Think of the endless opportunity our connectedness provides.
· Write down everything that surprises you – Many great opportunities are fueled by surprises. Surprises are usually funny, amazing, and insightful. Carry a small notebook and digital camera everywhere and document everything that surprises you. You will find endless opportunity to create things from your surprises.
· Journal about problems – Some people say there is no such thing as a problem; there are only opportunities. I concede they may be right. For every problem there is a solution and that solution will have value to others. Documenting obstacles and problems and the solutions you use to overcome them is an opportunity for you to bring value to others.
· Journal about possibilities – Imagine grand possibilities and write them down. Imagine inexpensive limitless clean energy. What would it look like? How would we use it? Imagine yourself being the greatest possible person you can be. What would you be? Imagine your dream business. Imagine the future you would create if you could create any possible future. What would it look like? Write it down. Find the opportunities hidden inside your imagination.
· Be open to unorthodox ideas – If your first reaction to an idea is defensive, stop yourself and think “Wait, listen, let them finish. Listen to the entire idea and then imagine the possibility of the idea.” Don’t shoot down an idea just because it sounds far out or strange. Give it a moment, wait for your defensiveness to pass and then look at it again. Sleep on it or wait several days to get your prejudices out of the way. It has taken years of persistence for me to accept several unorthodox ideas that have proven valuable.
· Eliminate limiting beliefs and mindsets – Are you one of those people that say “I’m just not that creative.” Do you think playing with gadgets is frivolous? Are you a bit too serious? Are you easily offended? Are you willing to indulge your curiosity or are you afraid of looking foolish? Do feel a need to follow the rules without question? All these things come from limiting beliefs and mindsets which will limit your ability to sense opportunities. Identify and smash your limiting beliefs.
· Be grateful –Being grateful is the antidote to resentment and complacency. Resentment and complacency block your ability to see clearly. The best way to clear resentment and complacency from your mind is to be grateful for where you are right now. Be grateful for your gifts and your weaknesses. Be grateful for your success and your setbacks. If you are grateful for all things, including those that appear to go wrong, you will be able to see them for the opportunities they are.