Every Moment Is An Opportunity
By Christopher Caile
The greatest of all the truly wonderful gifts that life gives us is
freedom in each new moment. Unfortunately most people never recognize
they have this gift. Instead they are too focused on something else – mesmerized
by habit, occupied by responsibility or driven by their emotions or wants.
But if you can break through, become awake to the possibilities, these
moments can become opportunities -- something we can take advantage of,
a space within which we can change course, do something a little different
or change our whole life radically, or just enjoy and experience something
This is not easy. We live life in a sort of auto-pilot, trying to cope
with our job, family and home, social life and recreation, all compressed
into too few hours. With the free time we do have, we often just click
on the TV, or do something else mindless to occupy our mind. And when
we do think, too often we let our mind get stuck in replying events of
the past, or get so focused on the future, that we miss the present.
In short, we get so occupied within life and diversion that we aren’t
conscious and alert to what we could be doing. We miss our opportunities.
Well great, you say to yourself. But what does it mean for me? How can
I use this?
First, you must recognize the power of inertia -- the power of habit
to pull you along the same path you so well recognize from your many
trips before. There you are in the middle of something, such as a conversation
with a friend or family member. It is so easy to tune them out and fill
in the blanks with your own thoughts. But, you can also truly listen.
It's more difficult because you must consciously take charge and focus
externally. But truly listening has rewards, not only in your enhanced
knowledge, but from family members who feels closer, co-workers who appreciate
your understanding and acquaintances who appreciate the attention. You
gain a lot.
Another example: You are taking a martial arts class. After a while
you get tired, and your muscles ache. Your mind screams, stop it, let
up. In this situation, and in so many countless similar ones, it is easy
to let yourself give up, or lose focused attention. But if you do that
extra sit up, sink down a little lower in that uncomfortable stance,
execute a technique a little harder, or whatever the extra focused effort
requires -- your conscious action represents a victory of spirit, a victory
that if repeated many times will spill over into improvement in other
endeavors. But first you must take advantage of the opportunities.
In short, you have to be there and be awake to the moment. If you are,
you can change your life and yourself, a little at a time -- if you take
advantage of the opportunity.
These opportunities always exist. You could at any moment just walk
out and get on a plane and start a new life. Some people have done this,
but for most such impulsiveness is impractical. But smaller, yet significant
opportunities exist for all of us. You can use moments to take stock
and ask of your inner self what is important and what you truly want
and need in life. You can change your schedule a little, take a class,
start a hobby or work towards something new, do something with more focus
and effort -- a succession of little opportunities pulled together toward
some goal. This momentum might play out into a new occupation, moving,
changing a relationship, or starting something you always wanted to try,
Most of us, however, have not taken advantage of our opportunities.
But the great thing is that life always gives us new ones. New opportunities
will always be there for you. But you have to break the cycle of auto-pilot,
self-absorption and inertia first. Then you can size your moments and
realize the freedom of mind and action that life always presents anew
About the Author:
Christopher Caile is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of
FightingArts.com. He has been a student of the martial arts for over
43 years. He first started in judo. Then he added karate as a student
of Phil Koeppel in 1959. Caile introduced karate to Finland in 1960 and
then hitch-hiked eastward. In Japan (1961) he studied under Mas Oyama
and later in the US became a Kyokushinkai Branch Chief. In 1976 he followed
Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura when he formed Seido karate and is now a 6th
degree black belt in that organization's honbu dojo. Other experience
includes aikido, diato-ryu aikijujutsu, kenjutsu, kobudo, Shinto Muso-ryu
jodo, kobudo, boxing and several Chinese fighting arts including Praying
mantis, Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) and shuai chiao. He is also a student
of Zen. A long-term student of one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine,
Qigong, he is a personal disciple of the qi gong master and teacher of
acupuncture Dr. Zaiwen Shen (M.D., Ph.D.) and is Vice-President of the
DS International Chi Medicine Association. He holds an M.A. in International
Relations from American University in Washington D.C. and has traveled
extensively through South and Southeast Asia. He frequently returns to
Japan and Okinawa to continue his studies in the martial arts, their
history and tradition. In his professional life he has been a businessman,
newspaper journalist, inventor and entrepreneur.