12 Ramadan 2018: Opportunity vs. Opportunism

I am an opportunist. When opportunities come, and I see them serving my grander goals in life, I take them. – Evangeline Lilly

In accepting our destiny and our lives … we must accept that the opportunities that come our way are the means through which we live our lives everyday as best as we can. However small the opportunity, if it benefits us, we must take it with an open heart accepting that there is underlying goodness.

Having said that, and what I have come to recognise very recently, is the concept of opportunism where we not only take up opportunities that come our way, but we see relationships and exchanges, especially with other people, as an existing or future opportunity.

The problem with this concept is that while it brings many benefits, it often makes people feel either used or empowers an equally committed opportunist keeping relationships at a superficial level. Some may not see anything wrong with that, the problem is that one will at some point face tough times in life and it is only those who do not see us as a “benefit” who will be by our side in what could possibly be the last days of our lives.

I say go for opportunity and let go of opportunism and if some of your friends or family are opportunists, recognise it and limit the effort you put in these relationships to the extent to which you can help as and when you can. Instead, I want to focus on the relationships that do matter that are not directly underpinned by benefits but are often superbly beneficial, both in life and after-life.

These relationships help make my life matter.

I don’t know what sort of world she will live in and I have no fixed opinions concerning how she should live in it. I only know that if she does not come to value what is true above what is useful, it will make little difference whether she lives at all. – Cormac McCarthy

So how do you recognise an opportunist?

  • They are highly communicative when they have a need
  • You don’t know much about their lives no matter how close you get
  • Often stay on the fence when it comes to sticky situations you are involved in
  • Often resistant to feedback or suggestions about how they live their lives
  • They don’t often share information and generally have a low level of altruism

The more important question then becomes, am I an opportunist?

Photo by Matt Sclarandis on Unsplash