“My favorite words are possibilities, opportunities, and curiosity. I think if you are curious, you create opportunities, and then if you open the doors, you create possibilities.”
–Mario Testino – Peruvian Photographer
The Universe may be full of possibilities for those with a keen intent and desire but opportunity remains one of the most sought-after commodities anywhere, anytime. The above quote from a renowned individual with a specially gifted sense of capturing outstanding images makes our life a little easier with pinpoint accuracy. Of course, nobody is expected to agree with him on the specific order of the three important human personality traits.
No doubt curiosity makes us explore the unknown. The exact same result may be awe-inspiring, motivating, exhilarating or disappointing for different individuals. In such contradictory situations, we can find solace in the words of Harry S Truman, the 33rd President of the United States of America (1945–1953): “A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.”
Thomas Alva Edison, recognized as the Greatest American Inventor in history with over 1,000 patents to his credit had a less than humble childhood. Home-schooled by his mother, Edison was trained as a telegraph operator by the father of a child he saved from getting run over by a train. It was sheer curiosity that propelled Edison into communications and rest is all history. He seized every opportunity coming his way to design, develop and create outstanding gadgets and devices that changed the world. He literally gave a new meaning to ‘possibilities’ as he never ran out of them.
Srinivas Ramanujan, better known as the “Man Who Knew Infinity,” and “One of the Greatest Mathematicians of His Time,” had no formal training in maths. His strongest asset was the unbeatable curiosity to keep exploring mathematical possibilities. Born in 1887 in a modest family in South India, he compiled 3,900 results (mostly identities and equations.) before he lost his life at the ripe, young age of 32. His infinite series for pi was one of his most celebrated findings.
Without going into much details of his Presidency, let us learn a lesson from the life of Andrew Johnson to the extent that he was born in a poor family. His father passed away when he was only three. His mother worked as a seamstress to support the family consisting of his three brothers as well. He also took up tailoring as his choice of vocation. His wife taught him arithmetic and writing. He took his initial steps into politics in Tennessee and slowly gained ranks as its Governor. Abraham Lincoln’s patronage brought him to Vice Presidency but Abe’s tragic assassination a month later helped him become the 17th President.
James Abraham Garfield, the 20th President of the United States is another classic example of a poor child raised on a farm by a widowed mother making a tumultuous rise to the highest office of the land and the most powerful position anywhere in the Universe.
I am sure keen and discerning readers can find umpteen numbers of examples to justify an ongoing curiosity to keep exploring undeterred and even unappreciated. Why, because “Opportunities multiply as they are seized,” said Sun-Tzu, one of the greatest ancient Chinese military strategists.
Who can deny the fact that already successful people keep climbing the stairs of success at the fastest possible pace whereas others barely manage to keep their heads above the water? Latest reports indicate a millionaire takes anywhere from seven to 9 years to become a billionaire whereas getting to the first million could take almost the first 35 years of one’s life.
“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds,” said Francis Bacon, the 16th Century English philosopher, statesman, essayist and scientist of the Renaissance period. Creating opportunities takes wisdom, vision, direction, focus, analytical capabilities and a lot more. Without the right mix, we might as well struggle all through our lives and still not succeed. It is only when we put all our resources together that the quest turns into possibilities.
Looking at all the above quotes and the anecdotal references, it shall be safe to compare the two basic scenarios where we all seek company. Those less than successful need company so they may share their troubles with someone else and get a shoulder to rest their heads on so they could cry on their misfortune. On the other hand, the successful individuals seek the company of those at the same or even a higher level of success. It gives them a chance to explore more possibilities for future growth. Naturally, they get more opportunities than the other group.
Being curious implores us to go beyond boundaries and explore the unexplored. It motivates us to break all barriers, shed monotony and to get out of the self-imposed ‘box.’ No wonder history is replete with examples of exceptionally outstanding figures, full of challenges, spring out of their modest upbringing. Majority of these ultra-successful individuals have acquired literal immortality and shall continue to be remembered by generations over the next few centuries.
Let us take a lead from the above group and strive to acquire some of their traits so we may also bring about a measurable change in our own status, both social and financial!