Taking opportunities....lessons from the world of spiders

Many people bemoan the lack of opportunities in their lives. They feel that they are missing out on the full spectrum of rewards that life has to offer. Because they percieve no opportunities, they have no sense of hope. What many people do not realise is that life is                                  often full of opportunities. The difficulty is seeing these opportunities and                                siezing the moment! We need to learn to recognise those exceptional                                    opprtunities which lead us towards personal reward and happiness. One of                            the most important aspects of discovering opportunities is that we must                                be actively searching. If we passively wait for opportunity to knock on our                              door we are simply inviting disappointment. I believe that it is highly instructive to look at opportunities in a creative way. I am going to present a simple story about spiders which illustrates many important points about opportunities. I think you will find it quite thought-provoking and might challenge some of your ideas about opportunities.

In the area that I live, large spider webs appear in the final few months of summer. The occupants of these webs spin their beautiful webs in the early evening. Many nights I venture out to see how successfully the spiders have hunted that evening. Many nights the spiders catch few insects. Other nights they feast handsomely. Some nights the spiders labour for hours only to find their web destroyed by an animal or pedestrian. Strong wind gusts and falling branches off trees also demolish many webs. Regardless of their success, the spiders consume their own webs at the end of the evening to recycle precious protein for the next evening.

Other  spiders  in  the area  in  which  I  live  use different  methods to catch prey. There is a particularly  large  and  hairy spider  which builds no web whatsoever. It simply runs down its unsuspecting  prey  with speed and  agility. The large size of  these spiders
is proof  of  the success of  their hunting  technique. The creativity does not
end  there.  A different  genus of  spider lurks in a cleverly-disguised  hole in
the ground with a trap-door entrance. When an unsuspecting insect wanders
past, the occupant emerges  fron the  hole and  grags its vitim with lightning
speed. Yet  another  species  lurks  within  flowers  and  ambushes  insects
which visit the  flowers for  food. All of  these  different types of spiders live successfully in my neighbourhood.

What lessons can we learn about opportunities from the spiders in my neighbourhood? The first lesson is patience. The web-spinning spiders often work hard for no reward. Some nights they catch few insects. Frequently their webs are demolished. They persist however and are ultimately rewarded for their great patience. The orb web-spinners also make efficient use of their meagre resources by recycling the protein from their webs. The next lesson is planning. All of the different types of spiders has a plan which has been perfected through thousands of generations. They have all perfected and rehearsed a particular method of feeding. All implement their simple tactical plans superbly! Another critical lesson is the need to be creative. If all the types of spiders used the exact same method of hunting there would not be sufficient food for all. Creativity in feeding methods has allowed all species to survive in abundance. All have made the most of their limited opportunities.

We often have potentially life-changing opportunities which pass unnoticed. In many cases, these opportunities are missed because they are different in character to those we seek. If we are blind, we will not see them. Some of the most important opportunities which are often missed include:

Life is filled with many more such opportunities. Actively seek them out! Accepting these precious opportunities can change our lives forever. Virtually all of these opportunities are entirely free-of-charge and available to everyone. 

I hope that your life is filled with wonderful opportunities which bring you great joy! Grasp these moments of opportunity firmly with both hands.

By Andrew Rylatt (Medical Doctor)
27th January 2004

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