So said Mary Poppins about Mr. Banks when explaining to his children why their father was so hopelessly concerned about the wrong things:
- Accumulating wealth
MP was trying to lay some truth on the kids, letting them know that what is really important is feeding the birds. Well, actually, the feeding the birds thing is more of a metaphor, because what do you really get out of feeding the birds, besides codependent, fat birds?
For one, you get happiness. You get to help a woman in need. You get to feel good about being a part of another person's world which you can only guess at. You understand that by looking outside your world and engaging in it, wonderful things might happen.
This is the definition of opportunity lurking. You have to look past the end of your nose to find it. In fact, you should not only look past the end of your nose, you must also engage beyond it. Do not get so caught up in building and defending your own little world that you have no interest or curiosity about what goes on outside of it. The more you connect to the world beyond the end of your nose, the fuller you become.
Very often, in college, you are forced to satisfy a list of requirements which will then move you on to another list of requirements, which leads you to the next list. You get so entrenched in this world that you forget that there is something more. Your world is filled with satisfying other people's requirements. But how often in college does anyone ask what you require? That is why it is up to you to do so. There are so many people, events, and opportunities that you miss if you are too busy satisfying other people's requirements.
For instance, do you know who, in a college environment, are the best people to get to know? Those would be the administrative assistants, formerly known as secretaries. I don't care what school you go to, those people, generally speaking, either have the power or know the person who has the power very well. Get to know and be nice to the secretaries. They are little bundles of opportunity, sitting behind the front desk, typing away at some database, quietly biding their time until someone, anyone, takes the time to talk to them. Be nice to them. Form relationships with them. This will come back to you at least one hundred fold, in ways that you might not even suspect.
When I worked at a college in Portland, I knew a student who spent so much time studying and satisfying requirements that he enjoyed very little of what that city had to offer. When he graduated he told me that his biggest regret was that he had not taken the time to get to know Portland. He said it seemed like a great city and he felt like he had missed out because he was too busy with school. He left Portland after four years, not really knowing the city at all. What a waste! Not only did he miss out on a blossoming food scene, he also missed out on excellent outdoor adventures. All of which would have added to his college experience.
He was so busy filling other people's requirements, he was blind to the opportunities all around him. He turned out to be okay, but some people don't bounce back. Some people spend the rest of their lives satisfying the requirements of others after college....because they have been trained to do so. They never see the opportunities lurking beyond the end of their noses.
So, before you start college, or, if you are in college, remember to look beyond the facade you are presented with. Most importantly, look within. Figure out what you want out of those four years. Look for opportunity wherever you go. Pay yourself the respect of answering your own needs.
After four years of looking for opportunities, you will have no problem doing this....looking for opportunities beyond your nose...for the rest of your days. Your life will be more full and you will be happier. Your life will be unrecognizable in the best way possible.
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