Every day presents us with possibilities. Each is an opportunity to choose an action, a response, or to make a decision. How important are those opportunities? Do we learn more from pursuing an opportuntiy or rejecting it? Is there a right or wrong way to decide?
If I accept the conventional wisdom about opportunity, I'd have to conclude I've been a failure. My default approach to addressing any opportunity is to run in the opposite direction. If, as some seem to suggest, that is a moral failing and there actually is a hell my ticket was punched long ago.
There a couple of reasons that doesn't produce a lot of personal angst. First, I don't by the premise. Every moment presents numerous opportunities, small and concurrent. The life we accumulate is the product of those minute-by-minute choices. They define the arc/timeline/path/story we build over the course of a lifetime.
Society tells me that pursuring opportunity is, generally, a good thing. While each potential gain always includes the caveat to "do my research," the underlying preconception is that acceptance is the brave and good decision.
I guess I'm a little suspicious of this because it seems to completely ignore the negative aspects of accepting opportunity. No opportunity comes without strings. Every opportunity exists in a context that predetermines what I have to do to realize the material benefits of my acceptance. When I take advantage of an opportunity, I am signing a contract of sorts. If I want its value, I will have to do a series of things for some time to realize a return.
My actual experience teaches that this transaction is no different from any other: you get what you pay for. While our culture presents opportunity as a gift, I've found it is almost always more like bait and switch.
Am I looking a gift horse in the mouth? Absolutely! Opportunity that I've earned is not a gift and determining its actual value should be paramount when considering my next step. Opportunity that I haven't earned is likely some kind of scam that will cost me in many ways.
It seems to me that those who value opportunity without qualification tend to believe that this is an inherently competitive, "dog eat dog" world where the prime human directive is to fight for everything you can get in terms of material gain and social status. I don't believe for a minute that every human holds this to be true or good, but it surely appears to be the dominant value system. Those of us who reject it are, well, what we are. I know I find fulfillment in simply being, loving and being loved and learning as much as I can.
Back to the point, I have tended to reject opportunity. I can't say I have no regrets, but I have very few and feel like this has been a wonderful experience. If I'm given the choice, I think I'd like to come back when I'm done here and experience a level 2 Civilization. I wonder what I might learn there!