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"The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore."

- Dale Carnegie


Jas and I grew up in a very religious household. Moms is an ordained Christian minister and dad was THE loudest singer in the Metropolitan Baptist Church choir.

Growing up in church gave us the foundation to keep pushin’ on in spite of any circumstance. It taught us to remain faithful in knowing that all things would work out for our good, and that help was always on the way. In thinking on this recently, it reminded me of a story my dad told us when we were young (some of you pk's may have already heard this one).

A man finds himself in the middle of a storm (yes, the storm represents life's muck). The storm just doesn’t seem to let up and eventually becomes a full-fledged flood. Our man finds his way to safety on top of his roof. He thanks God for keeping him safe in spite of all the destruction around him, and asks God to come down and rescue him from the chaos.
Soon after his prayer, a raft floats nearby. It’s stable and water tight, but our stranded man holds faithful. He reminds himself that God saved him from the storm and he knows that God will surely rescue him from the rooftop as well. He sighed as the raft passed and continued to wait on the Lord.

The water around him began to rise and he quickly found himself knee-deep in water. He held on tight to the top of the chimney and cried out to the Lord in thanks and joyfulness for what God was about to do in his life. A nearby boater heard the man praying and rejoicing, so steered her boat toward our man to lend a hand. She reached the rooftop and told him to hop in and he would be safe. She was rowing to a nearby mountain that had emergency shelter and supplies. The man refused and said, “Thank you kind woman but I am waiting on the Lord.”

I’ve seen so many examples of this in real life and I imagine that’s why I remember the story today. How many opportunities have passed us by because we didn't recognize them for what they were? How many different solutions have been presented to us to fix our problems, but go ignored because we believe our opportunity or answer has to look a certain way (does this sound a lot like a meditation practice to anyone else?)? Don’t miss your boat!

One of the main reasons we miss opportunities for growth and rescue is due to stubbornness. At times we become so set in our ways and belief systems that we almost create blinders to anything outside of that box.

Another blinder that keeps us from seeing solutions to our problems, is that we become so focused on something else. A perfect example is the invisible gorilla study discussed in Why You Miss Success. This will definitely change your perspective on how we see things and how the mind can really block out what we're not looking for. And the truth is, we've all missed out on come-ups and opportunities at some point in life. None of us gets it right 100% of the time and just like our man on the roof, most people end up regretting the things they didn't do versus saying yes to trying something different or unexpected.

And while Black Zen is non-religious in nature, many of our readers ask this question often so we didn't want to leave anybody hanging! In a final nod to our church roots, we've included How To Meditate: 10 Tips For Christians. It's a great article that shows how to bridge a meditation practice with a prayer life. Similar to that raft, meditation may just be the vehicle needed to assist our rescue. And while it may not look like it, we need to be open to trying new things and shift out of our comfort zone sometimes to be saved. Don't get stuck on the roof!

Opportunities, personally and professionally, will present themselves and it's our job to recognize them and then take action. Some opportunities may even look like obstacles (still looking at you meditation) but when we overlook assistance by being stubborn, too focused on something else, or just rigid in how things need to be, we miss an opportunity to truly grow and get out of the muck that surrounds us.


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