It’s unfortunate that we spend more than half of our lives seeking job opportunities that might give us a few extra rupees or the opportunity to travel (so what if it’s for work? At least the Insta feed would look good), or a few good dinners at luxury hotels and luxury cars or travel by business class or a state-of-the-art luxury home that you can live in. To each, their own.
Unfortunately, rigid patterns of our lives make us go around the world in search of ‘the perfect job’ or sometimes just ‘a half-decent job’ but we are never willing to break the patterns and go around the world exploring what we truly want.
Here are a few tips to create the opportunities you want in your life – personal or professional. Not so tough to do but tough to believe that these things actually work in creating the best opportunities of your life.
Dream big. Believe
As a child we all knew what it was to build castles in the air but as we grew up we slowly forgot the power to dream. Not just to daydream but to dream big.
Every idea, every business, every opportunity in this world begins with a thought. Your thoughts create your reality. But more often than not, we are all too scared of our own thoughts.
Dreaming about a million dollars may not be the solution but dreaming about an idea that could potentially bring you millions of dollars is definitely the next step to go. Keyword here is ‘IDEA’. If you are focused on your dream, the money will follow.
The company that started with selling artificial fridge magnets received $10mn of funding this year to grow further than their dreams. Shubhra Chadda of Chumbak had to sell her own house for seed funding when she started this company which is now the go-to brand for lifestyle shopping.
What is your biggest dream? Write it down in your notebook today.
Voice out your wildest dream
Don’t keep your dreams hidden for fear of being laughed at. For worrying that people might judge you, for saying it aloud. The more energy you put into your dream, the more real it will start looking to you. Do you ever tell a child that their dreams are foolish? Why do you not tell a child to burst the dream bubble? Simply because you want them to believe. Why would you then do it to yourself?
Your dream could be as small as ‘I want to be a known photographer’ to something as big as ‘I want to educate million children around the world’ or even ‘I want to be the Prime minister of this nation.’ Voice out your dream. Let others laugh if they have to.
Believe in your dream because unless you do, no one else will.
Take small baby steps
Start taking small baby steps towards your dream. If you want to be a published author, start writing. If you wish to educate millions of children, educate one around you. If you want to become the Prime Minister, join a local political party and see what it is like.
Small baby steps and small successes will help you move forward with confidence and with ability to navigate the path towards your big dreams.
Jigyasa Labroo was a fresh college graduate when she joined the volunteer program at Teach for India. But during her stint there, she realised that education should mean more than academics. She went on to start her own organization, Slam Out Loud, an art-based education program for children which is working at the grassroots level and has some beautiful success stories.
Which small step can you take today to fulfill your dream?
Take a leap of faith
A leap of faith doesn’t mean you have to jump into the ocean without knowing how to swim. It can simply mean putting your toes in a calm lake one evening and discover the tingle of excitement that runs through your whole body.
Finding your path requires only one thing – walking. Walking on any path that calls you now. It doesn’t matter if it is the right path or wrong. Walking on what seems right to you now, will lead you to where you want to be.
Perhaps you were an artist when you were a child and have lost touch of that artist within you. Take a small step. Make one drawing. It doesn’t have to give you money or even validation. Let it first give you joy. Then post it on Instagram. Don’t wait for the Likes. Keep drawing until it flows from within you.
Dipika Vijay, a lifestyle accessory designer went on to design jewellery for her own brand. But she was not completely satisfied. At the same time, she pursued her hobby of dance and fell in love with the art so much that now she is an international belly dancer and has finally found her calling.
Break your big wild dream into small actionable steps. It won’t seem like such a leap of faith then. It will seem like a first step.
Courage comes out of fear
When you were a child, you must have been scared of the dark and the unknown. But now you know that the only way to beat that dark is to walk in, find the switch and turn the light on. Our fears always seem bigger than they really are.
There will never be a time when we are not afraid of something or the other in our lives. But there will always be a way to channelise that fear and use it productively. The simplest way to challenge fear is to face it.
Radhika Arora, a corporate professional wanted to pursue MBA after the birth of her daughter but was afraid to take the leap because she was worried about who would look after her child in her absence. She took one step at a time. She aced her GMAT exams, secured admission in one of the top universities in the world and when she channelized her fear, her family too gave up the reservation and supported her throughout. She is now on a mission to help other women like her to pursue their dreams.
The most successful people are not successful because they are unafraid but because they have found a way to use their fear as fuel to their goals.
Be curious about people and situations
Take your earphones off when you are travelling. Look up from your phone on your way to work. Stop texting and actually talk to people. Don’t try and fill up every second of your time with a movie or a song or an informational podcast or a video. Be empty. Be silent. Listen to your own voice which you can hear only when you stop listening to others. We have become such huge consumers of content that we have lost the ability to give back.
Not everything has to be a work opportunity. We have lost the joy of pursuing a hobby just for the sake of it. Be curious about little children and talk to them. Talk to old people in your society who feel lonely. It doesn’t have to be a big act. Small random acts of kindness when you are genuinely curious about people around you, are enough to keep you in a head space that livens you up. And when you are in the energy of giving, you find a way to be kind to yourself too and listen to what it is you truly want.
When you are curious about the world around you, the world becomes curious about you.
The next big opportunity is waiting just round the corner
When you start making all the aforementioned things a habit, you will start seeing opportunities all around you. While you are walking a small path in your society premises, you encounter a child who is hurt. You talk to the child and that prompts you to write a story. You stop by to help the old woman by talking to her and you discover how lonely old people are. You decide to set up a place where lonely people can gather and talk to each other, to young people and even to children.
As a child, Priyanka Bhatia saw a neighbour coming to their home after her husband’s death struggling with her finances. She saw her parents helping her out. That small incident stayed with her and she grew up to set up her own start up called Women On Wealth whose primary mission is to create fifty lakh women investors in India and make them financially aware and independent.
Break out of your comfort zone. Ask what you can do for the world before you ask what the world can do for you. Love yourself. Love others. When you truly engage with the world, opportunity would not just be a mirage but the oasis that you build in your own desert.