Finding Your Secret Sauce

It’s 3PM and it’s minute 78 of a soccer match in Highbury, London. Arsenal scurries across the field, an endless hustle to maintain their position but also shimmy around and dominate the opposing team. They’re trying to “find an opening,” a fleeting moment where a little space opens to push the ball through the turf and claim a crowd-roaring point.

2000 miles away, a currency trader in Rotterdam, Netherlands is waiting for the pinnacle moment to capitalize on a hefty currency trade, catching it in the “market ether” so he can nab the difference in value before it’s passed off to its rightful purchaser. 2 minutes later, he’s snatched the difference, albeit being a small percent, and grossed nearly $13,000.

A few hundred miles south, 2 Americans, Travis Kalanick & Garret Camp, are attempting to hail a taxi in Paris and start to wonder why so many cars sit unused, their utility far below what they could be if more people leveraged ride-sharing. 1 year later, they start Uber, one of the most disruptive companies in world history.

The concept of opportunity is discovered time and time again, in every part of the world, regardless of industry, sport, or profession. Opportunity is what makes successful entrepreneurs, ambitious stock investors, world-class athletes, and Nobel Prize Laureates.

It takes on many names: “doorway of opportunity,” “your one shot,” “your lucky chance,” “the iron in the fire” but embodies the same essence regardless of its moniker.

It’s the hidden trap door, the unseen burrow below the “Whomping Willow,” the 1 loose book that triggers the secret bookshelf that opens up to a world you couldn’t even fathom. It’s always there, waiting for you. You just have to be curious enough to seek it out.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” -Thomas Edison

But where does it stem from? Some call it creative thinking, one of the most coveted yet underrated qualities of any profession. Whether you’re an undergraduate, apple picker, rugby player, stay-at-home dad, or paperboy, it reaps unimaginable rewards for those who grasp it.

If you seek success or excitement, this is your secret sauce. But what if you don’t have it? How can you learn it?

It’s amazing how a simple shift in perspective can open up a world of opportunity. It all starts with a simple question: what’s a challenge you encounter in everyday life?

And thus starts the cycle of finding answers to those problems, where only later do you realize it came to you as a “lucky chance” or “iron in the fire.”

Soccer players have the endless challenge of scoring goals, currency traders of making money, and the future UBER founder of easily getting a ride at 1AM. What’s yours? The more you start to think like this, the more opportunity will come your way.

~JK

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