Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.
– William Arthur Ward
As a photographer, you quickly learn the light waits for no one. You decide to sleep in a few minutes, and the light is gone. You decide to go out tomorrow instead, and you find the weather has changed and yesterday’s gorgeous sun is now a bank of grey clouds. You missed your opportunity. There is no going back.
As artists, it’s the same, only the opportunities are not as clearly identifiable as a sunrise. They come as a chance meeting, a passing suggestion. You don’t always recognize them, let alone jump on them, when they come along. Some you might not realize we’re opportunities until years later.
Or, even if you recognize the opportunity, it might not be convenient to act on it at the moment, so you let it pass by. Thinking, I’ll catch it next time. Only to discover later that there is no “next time.” There was only that one time, and you chose to let the opportunity pass.
You might kick yourself later, but it’s the opportunities you’ve missed in he past which help you take advantage of the opportunities of the future. The lessons you learn in missing or taking opportunities stick with you, and you try not to make them as often.
The Salem Art Fair & Festival opens today, so I’m thinking a lot about the opportunities I had last year, the newspaper article, the radio interview, and being offered a book deal out of all of that publicity. Wow. Compare that to this year, where I’m just lucky to be in the fair. I was originally rejected in March but got a call in June asking if I wanted to be in this year. I had to rearrange my vacation to be there this year, but I’ll be there.
Because, you see, I’ve learned my lesson. I see too many missed opportunities and missed sunrises in my rear view mirror. I’m determined that there will be less of them in the future. A little inconvenience is worth it to take advantage of an opportunity. I will likely still miss some, for one reason or another, but I hope that my story is more like, “This amazing opportunity came a long and I dropped everything to take it,” than, “I can’t believe I didn’t do that while I could.”
Take the opportunity when it is presented. Don’t delay.
“Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.”