Opportunities And Building Up

Every time we think about money, or about having access to relevant amounts of money, we think in terms of a unique event. Like, oh, what if I would suddenly have 10x my net-worth, right now. How many things could I do with that money, how fast would I pay may mortgage, or buy that property, or whatever.

The problem with this mindset is that the probability of a sudden, disruptive financial event in our life is extremely low. It’s lower than winning the lottery – because if we play the lottery, we may actually have some small odds, but if we’re just waiting for something to come out of the blue, some lucky event coming down from the skies, we’re completely devoid of any chance.

Yet the constant thinking about such a possibility makes our mind behave in a very diverging way. Instead of focusing on what we can do on this very moment, we keep day dreaming, or projecting future lucky situations.

If we spend too much time in this mindset, we can even get to grind: we will find it very difficult to engage in repetitive tasks that will generate some minor revenue (but real, tangible), because we’re already in waiting mode for the big change that may, or may not come. We will actually lock ourselves in “dream mode”.

When Opportunity Hits

There is a saying that luck is when opportunity meets preparation, and I’m very keen on this saying. It’s been proven right times and again in my own life.

There is a certain way of building up positions, regardless of the current context. And by “positions” I’m don’t mean only capital. A position may consist in constant exposure to a certain skill, or network of people. You may not master that skill instantly, and you may not meet an instrumental person right away, but by building up positions in that area, you are setting the context for that future, allegedly lucky event.

Building up positions requires relentless, disciplined action. It also requires a certain decoupling from the result of your actions. Because when we build up a position, we are not getting back any immediate, relevant result, it’s just brick over brick over brick. And the “house” we’re erecting (or the position we’re building) is so big, that it would almost be depressing to think about the difference between what it is now, and what we expect it to be. And yet, every brick counts.

So, when the opportunity actually hits, we are already in a good position (pun intended). When a certain market context gives us a chance to act, we already have some capital to enter, and grab that opportunity. When a certain job opens on the market, we have that skill. When a certain important person we want to talk to becomes available, we can already get in touch, because we’ve been building our network relentlessly, for years.

The opposite is to keep thinking that we will be ok only if some lucky rainfall will hit us. In my experience, if we do get hit by a rainfall, the opposite of this will happen. Specifically because we’re not disciplined enough, and we don’t have the experience of building painstakingly slow positions, we will be soon ungrateful for that opportunity, and waste it all on a few moves, hoping it will just re-appear again soon.

Which, of course, is a very dumb way to think: the very definition of a significantly “lucky” event is that it happens once in a lifetime.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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