“A ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ is irrelevant if it is the wrong opportunity.” — Jim Collins
All you need to do is look around even just a bit to see how the advancement of computers and the internet are fundamentally shifting how we learn and interact. We have more information available through our smartphones (which coincidentally still let us make phones now and then) than we ever could have crammed into an encyclopedia. Even more fascinating, one can currently spend $700 for a 2017 edition of the World Book Encyclopedia, or get a reasonably priced smartphone with 2 years of service. For how fast the pace of technology advances, it’s going to be interesting to see what we use another 25 years from now.
Think on just this for minute. It was barely a century ago the Wright Brothers conquered controlled flight with their machine that countless said was a fool’s mission. It was barely 60 years later we sent a man beyond the atmosphere and assuming Elon Musk is successful on sticking to his launch calendar, there will be people walking on Mars in the next 6-8 years. That would make it roughly 125 years from the time we figured out how to fly to getting ourselves to another planet.
Speaking more generally, with all these advancements comes opportunity. The new tools we have to work with have only begun to show their potential. As we apply our curiosity and creativity, finding new ways to combine these tools, we find even further possibility for what we can do.
It makes it increasingly difficult to believe there’s much of anything anymore that’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Of course there are some exceptions to this rule, like perhaps being among the first Mars colonists. I’m speaking more generally that some business opportunity will dry up overnight is likely more of a trend and we’re wise to be wary to such things. If they’re gone tomorrow without us, they will be regardless our involvement and could possibly do us more damage if we are involved.
Far better we continue to focus on our own expertise and build it upon a solid foundation of principles rather than fads. We can more readily adapt to changes in our business environment when we’re based in principles.
Further, the more focused we are on our own progress the less easily distracted we are by the noise all around us. Of course we are wise to pay enough attention to what’s going on so we can take best advantage of changes and progress, but we are also wiser to what will serve us and what won’t.
And if we want to totally boil this down to the essentials, beware anyone that tells you they have a “once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity”! It should be an immediate red flag for anyone who’s serious about their own business.
In the meantime, I have some oceanfront property in Idaho I’m looking to sell. So, you know… Call me…