Nothing is worse than missing an opportunity that could have changed your life


Have you ever wondered why less than 100 business men and women control nearly half of the wealth in the planet? The business world is the largest domain of opportunity in the world. But it is only true if a CEO has a mind for opportunity.

What separates an average CEO from the super achiever is the ability to spot opportunity. No matter how skilled an entrepreneur is, if he or she cannot spot and take advantage of opportunities, he or she cannot move the world. Because opportunity never dresses to match, we have to develop a keen consciousness for it.

Not long ago, as I drove out of our estate in Lagos Mainland, I saw a huge, golden, early morning moon, and was awestruck at the celestial beauty! It was captivating. I paused briefly and sucked in the wonder, feeling a surge of divine energy for the day!

It’s true that Man has messed up things big time (greenhouse gasses, pollution, deforestation, urbanization, wars, crime, etc) but the earth is still good. It is still a planet of opportunities and will remain so until its appointed time.

But not everyone sees it! I gave a young executive a lift to Lagos Island that same magnificent morning. As she stepped into my car, I asked with excitement, “Did you see that?”

“What?” she asked.

“The moon!” I exclaimed.

“What moon?”

I gave up, shocked that she had not noticed.

I have another interesting story. A few months ago, the leader of the largest church in Nigeria with over 20 million followers made a strange announcement. He asked everyone coming to their annual meeting and others viewing from home to buy a comb. The very next day, a comb that usually sold for N100 went for as much as N400! Combs became scarce overnight.

As soon as that announcement went out, a smart trader in the neighborhood rallied some funds and bought hundreds of combs from wholesalers at the Lagos market. He waylaid the worshippers at a major bus stop to the meeting venue. In one single opportunity, he sold in two days what he could not have in two months. Opportunity takes the struggle out of business. It compresses time and effort.

Whether it is comb or gemstone trading or construction business, the ability to sniff out opportunity is key to survival and profitability especially in harsh business environments such as ours.

Do you have an opportunity-conscious mind? If you do, then, according to the ancient sufferer, Job, “When men are cast down, you will say, ‘There is lifting up.'” But really, opportunity is not so much in the physical planet, thankfully. It is located in your mind! Can you imagine if opportunity was located in Sambisa forest, Gaza, East Ukraine, or Syria? Will you go?

The pollution of the planet does not affect the mind. Carbon monoxide does not kill the mind; only the pollution of the mind destroys the mind. The poverty of the planet does not affect you; it’s the poverty of the mind that makes you poor. That is why we can have a Bill Gates side-by-side a homeless beggar – on the same planet.

Opportunity is a thing of mind. Leadership, business strategy, investments, career, talent are all in the mind of man. It is not the outside planet that determines your destiny or that of your business; it is your internal planet. If only Nigerian leaders realized that the wealth of Nigeria is not in the geologies of the Niger Delta but in the mental geologies of their people! The oil deposits in the mind of one Nigerian entrepreneur surpasses the entire oil reserves in the entire Delta.

How do you cultivate opportunity consciousness?

Work your mind, and you will work your life. Do you read at least 1 or 2 hours everyday? The albatross of many a CEO is not creating time for daily absorption and mental renewal. The late Peter Drucker once said, “Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement.” The reading CEO is the advancing CEO.

Then, you want to develop a keen sense of observation. What are the subtle changes in your target demographics? What hidden trends underly the technologies being unleashed daily? Why is China’s interest in Africa? How will the trends in education affect the availability of rare skills for your industry?

Ask questions that no one is asking. Read books that no one is reading. For instance, my best business books are not business books. Nothing wrong with Harvard Business Review. I read them but my favorite business books include Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” Richard Bach’s “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” Paul Coelho’s “The Alchemist” and many similar. And of course the greatest business book of all time: the Holy Bible! The business opportunity insights from such works are breath-taking! Not everyone reads them as business texts.

Do you learn at least one new thing everyday? Do you have a mentor or coach who can expand your internal universe?

A harvest of opportunities is a harvest of mind. The quality of your decisions cannot exceed the quality of your mind. Is your mind trapped in a prison of the mundane? Is your mind trained to see opportunities?

Doing business without opportunity is like crossing a busy expressway blindfolded. Ask for a mind that sees and a heart that feels opportunities. While you do that, let me give you a final secret: the correct spelling of opportunity is “P-E-O-P-L-E.” When you begin to genuinely love, respect and serve people from your heart, you will be amazed at how business and career will blossom before you!

Watch “How TO Make Your Business Great” by Ogbo Awoke Ogbo. To Understand More

About the Author

Ogbo Awoke Ogbo
Ogbo Awoke Ogbo started his career with Shell, left Shell for Chevron, and returned to Shell, before leaving to consult, speak, and offer leadership, human resource and performance training to corporate organizations.