Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers made a profound statement – “success follows a predictable course. It is not the brightest who succeed. Nor is success simply the sum of decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf. It is, rather, a gift. Outliers are those who have been given opportunities – and who had had the strength and presence of mind to seize them ” (paraphrase mine). I was really intrigued by the statement and the stories in the book and it got me thinking. I want to take things further from where this book stopped to suggest that a sublime factor that creates advantages is the value of the time in which opportunities are seized. I am aware that there have been a lot of writings on seizing opportunities but I wonder how many people have stopped to consider the timing of the opportunities.
I will give an illustration to develop my point. Imagine two students studying a finance degree in the university. Both have similar backgrounds and exposure, and both aspire to be professionals in their discipline. One decides to spend his school holidays acquiring work experience in a financial institution as an unpaid intern, while the other gets a holiday job in retail with pay and benefits. At the end of their degree programmes, one would have acquired reasonable experience in working in the field that he aspires to, although not financially better off. The other individual would also have acquired some form of work experience, howbeit irrelevant to his area of discipline. if the two school leavers were in the job market applying for jobs. The one who spent his school holidays as an intern in a financial organisation has higher prospects of getting a job quicker, and may have managed to secure a place in the organisation. Another example are two entrepreneurs with similar products. One spends years trying to patent this product before its launch, whilst the other commercialises the product immediately and the product gains market success. Who has taken more advantage of the benefit of time.
This week’s message is a wakeup call to the risk of waste due to inappropriate timing. Doing the right thing at the wrong time runs the risk of obsoleteness. Recognise the value of time in utilising the opportunities available to you. It could make a difference between success or failure of your endeavour. It can make the difference between good and great, good and phenomenal and much more.
Viewing time as an advantage can make a significant difference in attaining your goals, sooner than you think. It will influence the use of your time and resources available to you. It is factual that we all have 24 hours in a day but do we all maximise the use of that time? One of the outstanding characteristics of successful people is the daily utilisation of their time. Time is an invaluable asset which is utilised to the optimal impact for successful people. The best of ideas may achieve mediocre results if the timing is wrong.
I am sure that there are several opportunities out there but you probably don’t recognise them as opportunities. And if you think that they are not opportunities, I suggest you read my blog called ‘Limitations are veiled opportunities’. I would like to challenge you to start acting NOW on your endeavours, recognising the value of time for the advantage it truly presents.