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What opportunities are you not noticing?

I’ve talked to so many people recently who are unhappy with their situation in life. The problem is that most of these people feel as though they have no other options. They make excuses for why their life is the way it is and just keep on being unhappy with it. When I ask them what they plan to do to change their situation in life, they have very few answers.

I think a huge problem for most people is that they don’t even consider most of the opportunities available to them. They seem to only consider the opportunities that seem the easiest, or the most obvious.

In reality you could do almost anything. You could move to another city or country. You could go back to school. You could look for another job. You could go on a holiday and take time to think. You could get a gym membership and get in the best shape of your life. You could take some interesting class after work. You could start hanging out at different places and try to make new kinds of friends. You could do any or all of those things.

If you are a negative person, you could probably read each of those possibilities I gave you above and tell me some reason why it would be really difficult for you to do it. The point is that if you really wanted to do any of those things you could probably make it happen.

The reason people get caught so easily in bad and boring situations is that they are afraid of the unknown. They are afraid of change. I know what that feels like. Although boring, it’s much easier to keep living the same way you always have and to keep doing the same things you’ve always done. Even though you know it would be exciting, making a big change is scary because you don’t know exactly what will happen. I know; I moved across the world. Unfortunately, if you keep living the same way you will keep getting the same results. Your life won’t change at all unless you do. Only fools would rely on luck.

Even if you are pretty happy with your life, I’m sure that there is at least one area that you would like to improve. For me, I’d like to start meeting new kinds of people. I’ve noticed that I’ve been going to the same bars and hanging out with the same people for the last 6 months or so. I’m in a “comfort zone”. I realize that I need to start doing some new things this year in order to make some new kinds of friends. My problem lately has been that I haven’t even been paying any attention to what kinds of new things I could be doing. Even though I live in a huge city with so many things to do, only a few ideas come into my mind for what I could do. I need to change this.

If you want to change jobs, don’t waste time complaining about it! Start looking for a new job. If you have been looking lately but haven’t found anything, start looking for new ways to find a job. Look for new job websites. Don’t be afraid to contact different people to get their advice on what you should do.

Whatever it is you want to change or improve, start it right now. Don’t live tomorrow the same way you lived today unless you want to be in the exact same position tomorrow as you are now. Also remember, don’t just try something. Try something different that you have never tried before. If that doesn’t work, try something else.

I’d love for you to share your experiences!


25 Responses to “What opportunities are you not noticing?”

  1. Vinicius Says:

    In fact what you’ve written it’s completely true, sometimes we are afraid of changing the way we live and trying something new, just because we do not know what will happen…

    Although, it’s important to know when is the right time to take a risk, otherwise we will always be in the same situation and our life will never change, consequently we are gonna be that sort of persons you’ve described…

  2. Dani Says:

    You are absolutely right.
    If you want to have (or achieve) things you never had before, you have to do things you never did before.
    So good luck to all people out there, who want to change something in their life!

  3. biks Says:

    Hey, Andy.
    I’m absolutely agree with you. Sometime I wonder most of the people don’t want to change their life. But personally I always try my best use of whatever opportunity I’ve got.
    Here I would like to tell myself little more, Anyway I’m completely visually challanged guy from India.
    I use computer with screenreader called “jaws”, most popular and very accesible. I have been trying hard to use china232 forum but unfortunatly it’s a chalanging task and very difficult and not accesible with screen reader. Still I’m positive and try to use it my best.
    hear I put my email ID which is “bik85yes@gmail.com”, I will be glad to receive any email from Andy and add.
    I’m absolutely determine to improve my english anyway.
    Thanks so much from biks

  4. 232xiao Says:

    Hey Andy,

    Again like other people, I agree with you.

    Just want to name a reason but not an excuse for somebody in China, who are perhaps extremely afraid of changes.
    I believe, the basic social security system (like health insurance, unemployment, etc.) in China is not quite stable or safe yet. So I can somehow understand them, why they will think about it again and again and again before they attempt to change.

    Anyway, I would say, move on to change it, or forget it. Keeping blaming but without any real actions is weak!

  5. Daniel Says:

    Hello Andy,

    Good advice. You’re completely right. When we are doing new things we improve our lives because it’s good for us to face with new challenges, like to find a different job or hang out to different places.

  6. eli Says:

    hi andy.
    you are right but in real life, sometimes and for some people, changing the job, finding a new one and changing the style of their life is really hard and for some who have familly and children, risking is not actually right. they MUST have money for the family. think about sb who hasn’t had much education and for example he knows nothing but … maybe driving. he should be a taxi-driver. and maybe that job is boring or there’s not enough money in it. maybe he’s growed in a family that he can’t have anyother job cause he doesn’t know the sience for that job. and being a taxi driver and having communications with many models of people is not good for his mood. hm? and excuse me cause my vocab is so limited. i hope i could say wht i meant.

  7. teresa Says:

    Hi Andy!
    I didn’t find the way to send you a Private Contact Message, I tried in the china232.com “contact” section but it didn’t work. :S Anyway… i just want to say this:
    I love your show!
    I would like you to talk about a expression I heard the other day, and I didn’t understand: to earn a crust.
    Teresa (from Spain ;) )

  8. Daniel Says:

    I totally agree with you Andrew. We are often afraid of the unknown. In my experience, I just moved to the U.S. and it has been rough for me to make friends and find a good job. But like you say, we need to keep trying to improve what we want to change. I’ll definitely take your advice.

  9. Allen Chao Says:

    Hello Andy,

    I agree with all the points you suggested to those who are unhappy with their lives. It does work for people who want to make a better change for their situation being boring. For some kinds of people having been unmarried without children, but with good financial background, or with good skill in some industries, or special technique in some promising fields, to take a risk to improve their lives that could be possible for them. As I see it, they don’t have any burden to their families.

    I also agree with Eli previous saying that if people having been married with kids and without any special skill, for example, living in some poor provinces of China, how they can make an improvement for their lives by changing their jobs? In general, They are very worried about if getting a big change would make them to be poorer, not to be richer. If this is the case, how they can support their daily expenditure after job is changed. Under this worrying thinking, they have no desire to change their jobs for anything more adventurous unless they have a sufficient financial support in the their back.

    I think that it is better for unhappy people to make changes for their lives gradually in some ways, step by step. Another is to save enough money and try to invest part of it into business they are familar with. Be more patient now to keep their jobs working until chance comes out.


  10. Benoît (that's Benedict in French) Says:

    Hi Andrew, Hi Addison

    This is the first time I take a minute to tell you how cool I find your podcasts: for me it has been filling up a gap in my current podcasts: lots of everyday, sometimes slang English, brought to the listener in a wonderfully-relaxed way: I sometimes almost feel myself just next to you guys, joking and laughing about real-life situations, sipping some kind of drink, in a cool bar, amongst other easy-going people like you! Really great job, you’ve been doing!
    As for the current topic in this blog: the ability of taking up opportunities, being dauntless about making changes in your lives (for situations we’re complaining about) and, generally speaking the (inner) disposition of always being positive about life: I must confess that I’m not at all that sort of guy: I’m feeling rather scared about new things, lacking self-confidence etc. I think that listening to you gives me already some hints at how my life could be improved, but I think it’ll still take some time: please be patient and tolerant with me… but thanks a lot for your topic anyway!!!

  11. Alice Says:

    Hey, guys, thank you so much for insisting on giving us so many wonderful podcatsts, I’m sorry that I haven’t been to china232 for a long time because of the chinese spring festival vacation. Actually I’m very unhappy with my current situations, so I try to find some chances to improve it. Now I am prepareing for doctoral candidate entrance examination, but it’s only one month left to take the examination. I must admit that I’m a little lazy that I didn’t study at all during the long vacation, I invited my parents to have a good trip during the spring festival. Now it’s only 30 days left, I have to do my best to prepare the examination, I’m confident that I can do it well though it’s very hard to me. One of the subject is the English examination, which includes the writing, I know keep practice is very helpful to improve writing skills, so I decide to go to there often recently, keep listening and writing something everday.

  12. Learn English Says:

    you are so right. Personally, I have been feeling like I was in a rut lately and started to look for new ways to meet people or spend my time, so I started taking a photography class. I met some people who were really nice and learned new things, but I also realized that it wasn’t for me. So now I’m looking for cooking classes… wish me luck :)

  13. Amelia Says:

    I have to say that you are right in the article.

    At the begining when i read this article all kinds of excues popped out in my mind, I wanted to debate that different people has different situation. Change.. it’s easy for you to say it. For traditional chinese, it’s not a easy thing. we are too family bounded and we don’t like to work far away from home even maybe we can get better opportunities. we afraid to change because we scare to lose. lose current opportunity and lose face. we care too much of others’ talking about us as you noticed already.

    But finally i am convinced by your article and the comments ppl wrote here. I guess change doesn’t mean a whole lot change, an upside down chang. it can be a small change to just make yourself feeling better. I admire Biks, he is such a positive person. why can’t we be positive? A taxi diver maybe can’t change his job easily because he has to surpport his family. but he can go have a nice hair cut and have a good mood with it. he may also takes his family to have one day spring outing instead of working whole month, at least he can use the car freely. I did my life change and i am enjoying it. I am taking a one year leave from my work.
    I really need to make this year a happy, meaningful and fruitful one.
    well, current plan or change is a travelling plan. don’t have money to Thailand but i plan to go to Suiyuan, a city 10 hours away by train from Shanghai. It will be cool. and now it’s the best time to see all the flower blossom.
    So friends cheer up please, do some small changes in your life. you are welcome to join my tour if you want. :) hahaha


  14. jamila Says:

    you hit the nail on the head …. Yeah it’s really true what you’ve said.
    And lately I wanted to change my way of living but like you said I’m offraid to be disappointed. I know I’m not enough brave to do that, but I’ve some barriers wich prevent me. I’ve a daughter who is relaying on me so I cant jeopardise with job and so on. what I’m sure of is that I want to change my live asap I feel bored with my job and also I spent all my life in doing things I don’t really like. Now I’m trying to change step by step. I began with learning English, I hope it’ll be a dream comes true one day

  15. Ivan Says:

    Nice text.
    I did the same thing as you, I moved from
    Brazil to the Middle East, without speak any english or arab.
    I wanted to know a different culture, learn english and see another way to live the life.
    I sold every single think I had, and it was the best thing I did in my entire life.
    After one year living in a small island called Bahrain, I’m moving again, for another country. I still learn english, and your podcasts have been very helpfull for me.
    I like to thank you guys, you have no idea how much good is your help.

  16. HND Says:

    You are completly true Andy, beacuse i think every person must be positive enough to bring happiness to his or her live and hence to everybody around him ….. Really thank you Andy for your great analytic way of thinking :)

  17. Lake Says:

    it sounds pretty amazing to the reader in the fist place . there is no faith and we can take our lives over.
    wow such an wonderful world! so let me cite sth that’s happened to me and then one of us might rethink his idea!
    my home land unfortunately is known to be like a bad guy in the world eyes!(i live in another country now) and so when i go to bars trying to make some new friends after a little talking they ask”where (the hell) are you from?” then my really really tough time starts. since i don’t lie even though i have a quite strong accent that make me capable of lying withought being caught i tell the truth.
    now even thinking back to all those abrupt changes in their behavior piss me off. and i have no controll over my nationality since i had no choise over it.
    so don’t tell me we are able of doing everything .although we’re able to make huge changes by changing our mentality there are some insurmountable barriers you can not over come.

  18. niki Says:

    Hi guys!

    I’m such kind of person who are afraid of changes, because I really will not be disappointed. I’m not self-confident person and I am a little bit lazy as well. Any time when I need a change something in my job or study or generally in my life I do it quickly with one breath out and with closing eyes because if I will think a lot about it will take a lot of time and than the problem will not be actual any more. I live in Republic of Georgia and there is a student exchange program of Erasmus Mundus and I would like to take a part in this program but every time when i decided to sent my applicable form I am afraid that my English is not good enough, and that I can not live in another country without knowledge of language and without my parents, relatives and friends and I guess it will be very difficult lo live in another country with different people with different culture. I have a friend who made her choice and without good knowledge of language she flies to UK, she took a good education, she met a lovely guy and they got married, I am their best ma, it was really happy end but not every time happens like this. I think I must change something in my life this way and I guess I will try after your podcast.

    wish you all the best

  19. José Says:

    I was reading this article, a very interesting article. And now I want to share an experience that I am doing now.
    With the little knowlege of English that I have acquired, by a self learning system, and without to use the English in my daily life, I realized that I could do something so that my English could be used.
    So I began to record my own videos in English and put them in youtube. Now I want to envite you to go to http://www.towriteinenglish.blospot.com. In this address you can find my videos. I think that these videos can be very useful to those who have a knowledge of the English, but have difficulty in listening skill. I think it could be helpful.
    I wait you there!

  20. José Says:

    Excuse me ! It was missing a letter in my address. Here it is again: http://www.towriteinenglish.blogspot.com.
    I wait you there!

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  25. grace Says:

    hi Andy!
    You are absolutely right. Most people don’t like trying new things because they are scared of failing. I used to be one of them until I finally made a decision that created a huge positive change in my life. Deciding not to live in mediocrity is not that easy. we need to do something great if we wanna be great, perseverance, patience and discipline, it would be a rough road to go through but will surely pay off someday.

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