“Opportunities Multiply As They Are Seized”

Opportunities Multiply As They Are Seized

“Opportunities Multiply As They Are Seized”

– Sun Tzu

Hello everyone! How about starting your day off with a little motivation and inspiration. Time to seize the day!

Sun Tzu, who is behind the quote above, is the author of the widely acclaimed book, “The Art of War”, published around 500 BC. I’ve actually started this book, but I have not made my way far yet. Sun Tzu was a military general for the Chinese and his principles have been used by many legendary warriors and emperors, including Napoleon Bonaparte. But today, his lessons are most commonly used by creative strategists and business leaders looking to corner the market or lead an industry.

I stumbled on this quote as I was beginning to learn about Sun Tzu and wanted to bounce it off all of you readers to see how it has applied to your life and get your feedback. And hopefully it serves as a bit of motivation to pursue the opportunities in front of you!

I would encourage everyone to pursue new opportunities and learning experiences. Don’t be afraid to put an opportunity into action and pursue it directly. If it is successful, it could lead to many other creative ideas or opportunities. Remember, you have to start pushing the snow ball before it begins to roll by itself down the hill!

For me, this quote is very easy to apply to my career, both in terms of opportunities I have taken and a few that passed me by. While I’m a believer in things happening for a reason and ultimately everything will work out for the best; that’s an awfully passive way to live life. I’m also a big believer in hard work paying off. And putting those two philosophies together can allow you to go through life successfully and hopefully without a lot of unnecessary anxiety and worry.

Opportunities Pursued

Let me give you an example, I remember early in my career wondering whether I should go back to school for my MBA or not. I wasn’t considering leaving my job for a full-time MBA program, but rather a nights and weekends program and maintain my employment. I bounced the idea around to a couple of my co-workers, including my boss, to get their thoughts. I honestly felt like my boss was trying to persuade me not to which bothered me a bit, but she did make some good arguments and I began leaning against it.

Then another co-worker told me to look around at the group leaders in my office and whether they had MBAs. Sure enough, all the leaders in my group did have MBAs. So while an MBA may not be necessary to advance my career, there are definitely more opportunities for advancement with an MBA. And that was all the proof I needed. I quit dragging my feet and finally decided to apply!

Looking back on it, I’ve never once regretted that choice. Sure it cost me and my wife tens of thousands of dollars, but fortunately my employer did reimburse a portion of it as well. But no doubt it has accelerated my career and been instrumental in receiving a job and promotion. It’s hard to quantify the direct effect of it, but I’m quite certain it was a good investment of time and money.

Opportunities Passed By

There has also been opportunities I’ve let pass by. Partly because it was tough fitting them into my life at the time or maybe I was just a bit uncertain about the potential benefits of going after it. For example, I was always interested in taking a couple week long courses through Harvard Business School. They offer executive education programs and many courses sounded very interesting and applicable to me and my career.

Now who knows if I would have been accepted into the class or not, but it was an opportunity that existed (and still exists today) that I haven’t pursued. As I recall, the classes cost $5k-$10K each and last one week. I could have received employer reimbursement for the majority of the cost of the class, but would need to pay my own airfare out there and take paid time off for the week. But it could double as a bit of vacation and my wife could always meet me out in Boston too.

It was definitely doable, and something I did give a lot of thought to. And who knows what opportunities would have come out of an experience like that, or what people I would have meet that would impact my life positively. I definitely wish I would have pursued it more, but I let it slip by and now I’m not sure if it would be as worth it to me. Maybe I will reconsider one day.

Small Business Investment

I have countless other examples, including the opportunity I recently mentioned in [My Investment Portfolio] post on how I’m pursuing a small business investment with my siblings. While I haven’t provided much detail yet on this small business investment, I plan on doing so in a future post so stay tuned. I sure hope it turns out successful and leads to additional opportunities in the future for us!

The Green Swan eBook

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to The Green Swan eBook.  You can order your copy today and download it instantly (readable via your favority e-reader app).  The Green Swan eBook is over 30,000 words, 82 pages on normal 8.5 x 11 paper, and over a year in the making to help you get on the path toward financial independence!  Buy yours today, you will be happy you did!

Anyway, enough about me. I want to hear your stories! What opportunities have you seized? Have you let opportunities pass you by? What can you do today to reach out and grab life by the horns?

Hopefully this little dose of inspiration / motivation catches you at the right time and spurs some level of positive action. Time to seize the moment!

The Green Swan

Work Harder, Work Smarter, Retire Earlier and Find Your Beach






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  1. Glad to hear that you took the plunge on your MBA, I did the same thing several years ago and it has been nothing but upside ever since. In thinking about opportunities taken, I can honestly say that any investment in my own development has always been a fantastic investment.

    Two other examples come to mind:

    When my son asked me to take Taekwondo classes with him last year, I took the opportunity to say “yes” and that has worked out great as well. We will be testing for our Orange belts tomorrow.

    My wife and I took the opportunity to purchase a small business for her to run back in 2010 – also a great success!

    Either grasping opportunities is a great idea or I have a very selective memory – it’s hard to know which!

    1. Good point about investing in your own development, I’d agree. I think it is very easy to hesitate in going for and advanced degree because of the time, energy and cost, but focusing on the long term it will most likely pay off.

      That’s so awesome you are taking Taekwondo with your son, I’d love to do something like that with my son too. And how great of you and your wife taking the leap to buy your own small business. I love hearing stories like that and can totally relate.

      Haha that could be true about the selective memory 😉

  2. Good thing that employee pointed out that leaders in your organization have an MBA. I am currently wrapping up my MBA and will release a post shortly on how I paid ~$2,500 for it. Wish I was employed to get my employer reimbursement but can’t complain with that relatively small investment.

    Only opportunity I passed up that comes to mind is going to a more prestigious university ie ivy league. However, financial reasons made that dream a no go and I have no complaints about my education. I worked among many ivy league colleagues and see no difference between us. I am sure once I graduate this list will expand!

    1. Yeah absolutely! I look forward to the post.

      I go back and forth on the value of Ivy League degrees too. I think it depends on what your ultimate goals are in life. Thanks for sharing Stefan.

  3. Opportunities Multiply As They Are Seized
    That is a great quote! I firmly believe in this and the hard work you mentioned as well. I was the first to attend college in my family and I worked my way up to earning a doctorate. At each step of the way, I seized an opportunity and only through really hard work did most of them pay off. I know people “get lucky” at times, and I am sure I was in the right place at the right time when I started my career. I was a 22 year old science teacher and swim coach – and that was exactly what my school needed. Lucky – yes – and the opportunities came from there! (I even coached with the mom of a famous swimmer who will be in the Olympics this summer!)

    1. Wow that is great you got your doctorate and things worked out so well for you. It may have been luck, but you made your own luck! Good for you. And how awesome of a story that you were swim coach that mom, I’m sure you’ll be cheering hard for their kid in the Olympics. What a life experience!

      Thanks for sharing!

  4. I ended up getting my MBA immediately following my undergrad. Graduated when they were laying people off in my field instead of hiring them and figured I would rather keep going to school until someone paid me to stop. It hasn’t fully paid off yet, but it definetely set me apart from my peers in entry level positions which equalled quick promotions.

    Take on anything you feel will benefit you (I mean with a name like Apathy Ends, I feel like this post was written for me :))

    1. Ha this post was definitely written for you!

      I know a lot of folks who continued with their MBA right away. I’m sure it did help set you apart in a difficult job market, it helped me similarly. It’s interesting to think how things would be different without it.

      Thanks for sharing!

  5. When my husband’s health kept deteriorating in Seattle, we took the plunge — despite still paying off student/medical debt — to move to Arizona. He’s much better down here, especially now that he’s not trying to work and also setting himself back over and over, so that was well worth it. Even though it added about $2,000 to our debt, it’s been well worth it. And unlike Seattle, we’re able to afford a house here.

    That said, I’m not sure it was exactly an opportunity. It wasn’t one specific do-or-don’t time. It’s just that things reached a crisis point with his health. But in the end we don’t regret it, so I guess that’s close enough.

    1. Absolutely, so glad to hear he’s doing better. It took a leap of faith to move to AZ so that counts in my book, and glad to hear it’s been for the best. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I had sort of a career defining decision to make a few years ago. I had the opportunity for a promotion which I was looking to get. The downside was a much longer commute and an unfamiliar office. I actually almost turned it down but a colleague told me that the promotion could open up opportunities down the line.

    I decided to accept it and it was just okay. I did decide to leave the company 6 months later and the new company was impressed with my position and I was able to command a much higher salary than I would have without the promotion. It also put me on the fast track in the new company.

    You never know what opportunities are around the corner!

  7. Hey JW, nice topic and I agree completely agree. I was unsure about taking the plunge to get a further qualification in my field, but we have to play the game to win.

    I’ve just started and the amount of different avenues this opens up could be huge for me/us 🙂


  8. I have read various offshoots of that quote in the past, but I like this iteration the best. I would like to venture a guess that part of the reason opportunities multiply when they are seized is because we become more skilled at recognizing opportunities ourselves with each newly-seized opportunity.

  9. I was working as a receptionist right after undergrad. The company needed some help in their accounting department. I had absolutely no background, but decided to go for it. I ended up being an accounting assistant for a couple of years. Although the experience doesn’t directly apply to my current career, I learned so much from that opportunity, including all things Excel.

    1. That’s a great opportunity and sounds like you got the most out of it. Excel is an awesome application, it’s amazing the advanced functions it provides. What a valuable tool. Thanks for sharing!

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