How often should we pause our lives, if even for a moment, just to see what’s going on around us? I learned this one recent day at a local Starbucks, while I was busy, my head buried in my laptop, sending emails, cramming for work, completely unaware of an older gentleman sitting next to me. Before long, he started a conversation with me, and needless to say, I was getting annoyed with his intrusion into my space (since I was doing something I deemed more serious). I was hard at work and not really in the mood for chit-chat. But, ignoring my obvious signs, he kept talking anyway until I finally had to say, “I’m sorry, but I’m trying to work here”. It was as if I had said nothing though, and he proceeded to show me some photographs of his work. He was a photographer in the 1950’s and followed around Marilyn Monroe, the Rat Pack and many other big name stars of that era. Suddenly my interest was peaked, as they were fascinating photos of some very famous icons. But, I still had work to do and this was clearly taking up my time. For whatever reason, I decided to ask him one question: I asked, “what did all the stars you met have in common, what was the common denominator?” He looked at me, took a long pause, and said two things I’ll never forget. First he said, “sheer determination” and second, “they were ready for the opportunities that presented themselves, and were aware of who and what was around them. When an opportunity came along, they were prepared and they took them.” In other words, they were aware. I didn’t realize it right then, but those words would have an enormous impact on my life. The lesson that day was that we have to be constantly aware of who and what is around us, and be prepared to mix luck and fate at the same time, when they come knocking. Every religion, martial art, corporate training, etc. that I’ve studied speaks of staying aware and paying attention to what is around you. When you’re driving for instance, do you notice every street sign along the way? When you walk in to a room, do you notice the beautiful vase to your left that is on the stand? We may go to the same job, or the same school, or have the same relationship every single day, yet often times, we miss many key opportunities that are there the entire time. Opportunities that may have brought us new ideas, or opened a new door if we were present and “in the moment”. The question really is are we getting the full experience of life? Are we really getting our money’s worth? As the gentleman left Starbucks, he shook my hand and wished me good luck. It was like divine intervention meant to deliver that message to me, on that particular day. I’ve never forgotten his words, and despite my many mistakes since, it doesn’t matter because I am always preparing myself now for the wonderful opportunities and blessings that I know are coming my way throughout the rest of my life. I just need to recognize and seize them when they arrive. Writing this article is one of them. I hope you enjoyed it.
Please feel free to write me anytime at: DavidJames.Yoga@gmail.com