Seizing The Opportunity

usgrantvignette

Story of Seizing The Opportunity –

American Civil War General and President Ulysses S. Grant

Story adapted from a book written 1896 – examples are all masculine but the message is still the same -

Be ready to seize the right opportunity when it is staring you in the face!

“When I was a boy,” said General Grant, “my mother one morning found herself without butter for breakfast, and sent me to borrow some from a neighbor.

Going into the house without knocking, I overheard a letter read from the son of a neighbor, who was then at West Point, stating that he had failed in examination and was coming home.

I got the butter, took it home, and, without waiting for breakfast ran to the office of the congressman for our district.

‘Mr. Hamer,’ I said, ‘will you appoint me to West Point?’ ‘No, — is there, and has three years to serve.’

‘But suppose he should fail, will you send me?’

Mr. Hamer laughed. ‘If he doesn’t go through, no use for you to try, Uly.’
‘Promise me you will give me the chance, Mr. Hamer, anyhow.’ Mr. Hamer promised.

The next day the defeated lad came home, and the congressman, laughing at my sharpness, gave me the appointment.

Now,” said Grant, “it was my mother’s being without butter that made me general and president.”

But he was mistaken. It was his own shrewdness to see the chance, and the promptness to seize it, that urged him upward.

“There is nobody,” says a Roman Cardinal, “whom Fortune does not visit once in his life; but when she finds he is not ready to receive her, she goes in at the door, and out through the window.”

Opportunity is coy. The careless, the slow, the unobservant, the lazy fail to see it, or clutch at it when it has gone. The sharp fellows detect it instantly, and catch it when on the wing.

Circumstances will, and do combine to help men at some periods of their lives, and combine to thwart them at others.

Thus much we freely admit; but there is no fatality in these combinations, neither any such thing as “luck” or “chance,” as commonly understood.

They come and go like all other opportunities and occasions in life, and if they are seized upon and made the most of, the man whom they benefit is fortunate; but if they are neglected and allowed to pass by unimproved, he is unfortunate.

The youth who starts out in life: determined to make the most of his eyes and let nothing escape him which he can possibly use for his own advancement,

  • who keeps his ears open for every sound that can help him on his way,
  • who keeps his hands open that he may clutch every opportunity,
  • who is ever on the alert for everything which can help him to get on in the world,
  • who seizes every experience in life and grinds it up into paint for his great life’s picture,
  • who keeps his heart open that he may catch every noble impulse and everything which may inspire him,

will be sure to live a successful life; there are no ifs or ands about it. If he has his health, nothing can keep him from success.

 What do you think, do these same principles apply today to both men and women?

Moral of the story: Know what you want and be ready to seize the opportunity!

Copyright © 2009 Sharon Michaels – All Rights Reserved

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