Do You Really Want That Opportunity?

We have a lot of flies in our house in the summer. With four kids (two canine and two human) there is always a door open to the outside somewhere. Ergo, the endless parade of flies.

Flies are funny. They zoom into the house the first chance they get, then spend the rest of their lives trying to get back out. Oh, sure, there’s the occasional romp around the inside of a lampshade, but then they return to the nearest pane of glass to make sure the invisible force field is still there. They test this force field over and over by ramming their body into it, climbing on it, and buzzing all over it.

Our back door has a full-length glass window in it. There is almost always a fly bashing his head against the glass when I go to let the dogs out. 

I have noticed a strange phenomenon when I open the door. More often than not, the fly (who has, like a thousand eyes right?) refuses to notice the gigantic new opening, and instead keeps trying to break through the window. Even when I try to “shoo” the fly the right direction, it will almost always stay right where it is, creating a window-induced concussion, OR it will fly back into the house.

I’m always fascinated by this because the fly seems to want out of the house, and quite desperately at that. In reality, I believe they like the idea of getting out of the house more than actually getting out. When presented with the opportunity to escape, to change, to pursue new possibilities, they panic and either stay frozen where they are or retreat back into the safety of the house.

Oh-my-gosh! I AM EXACTLY LIKE THAT, AREN’T YOU?

We’re always looking out the window, wishing we had a better job, or wishing the boss would give us more responsibility, wishing we had the freedom to pursue our passion, or simply wishing we were on the other side of that window.

Oh, we bash our head against that window, too. We keep trying the same old things we’ve tried before, and we even try harder, but nothing seems to even crack the glass. We buzz and complain about how unfair life is, about how we’re not recognized & rewarded like so-and-so is, about how we’d live life differently if somebody would just give us a chance.

Then, suddenly, the door is opened. We feel the fresh air of new possibility rush in…and we freeze. We thought we wanted to change, but now we’re not so sure. We thought we knew exactly what we’d do when that door opened, but now the larger world on the other side scares the bejeezus out of us. It is suddenly a lot more unknown than we predicted. And we humans don’t deal very well with the unknown. Apparently we share this trait with flies.

So, we keep our blinders on and pretend to not notice the opportunity, even when people try to guide us toward the open door. We say things like “That’s ok, I’m good right here.” We really don’t mean it, but we’re too afraid to let go of the window and explore the strange and wonderful new world on the other side. Too many unknowns.

We like the idea of opportunity. We’re just not mentally prepared or courageous enough to act on it when it presents itself. 

It’s like watching kids jump off the high dive at the pool. That looks like so much fun…until you step to the end of the board yourself. Then it’s terrifying. 

Here’s what I tell myself when I’ve been bashing my head against a window and then somebody finally opens the door. I also recite this mantra when I step to the edge of the high dive.

Remember, this is what you asked for.

Crap. I did, didn’t I? 

At this point, my fear of feeling like a schmuck usually takes over and forces me to peel myself off the window and fly out the door into the great unknown. You can’t ask for something then say “No thanks, Universe” when it is finally given to you. If you do, you’re asking for a cosmic smack down.

I also remind myself that the door won’t be open forever, so if I truly want it, NOW is the time to act.

I will only spend a few seconds trying to help a fly take advantage of the open doorway. After that, I’ve got better things to do and he’s pretty much out of luck. Now, he runs the risk of being swatted by a rolled up newspaper or being chomped by one of the dogs (they’re surprisingly good at catching flies). Our opportunities act very much the same way. Use ’em or lose ’em.

Sometimes we don’t see the opportunity because we’re too busy bashing our head against the window. Stop bashing and just pay attention. If you allow yourself to stop complaining and stop feeling frustrated for a few moments, you might be surprised to see that there is an open door waiting for you.

Now, whether you choose to fly through it or not is entirely up to you.


Thanks for reading! See you next week.

 

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