Reverse Parking and Missed Opportunities

If I had a dollar for every hippy that passed through Ubud and told me something along the lines of “there are no wrong choices” then I’d be floating on the Pacific aboard my luxury sail yacht. But alas these viajeros can seldom spare me the dollar owed… so here I am, land based and talking opportunities and choices.

I feel we need to define what has been misconstrued somewhere between the haphazard hippy and the cockeyed corporate. There are opportunities and there are choices. But the penny really dropped for me only yesterday as I was traversing peak hour traffic in Ubud. And it’s a “proverbial penny” that I feel I can apply to just about every encounter I have with choice and opportunity moving forward.

As my nostrils flared. Eyebrows arched, and a smirk came to my mouth I saw a distant opening. My little car had the opportunity to pull off some reverse car parking prowess, and slide straight into a park some 20 metres from where a cafe was waiting to serve me a hot cup of coffee and the ‘local rag’ would be awaiting to spill said coffee on onto.

But here’s the crux of the conversation: The choice to seize that parking spot was an opportunity of prolific proportions. But that choice was not available to all, so neither was the opportunity.

Without putting an entire gender offside (in particular my wife!) I’ll tell you right now that the choice nor opportunity was available to my wife. God bless her she’s an exceptional driver, but has on numerous occasions told me that women “do not have the part of the brain that computes spatial awareness like men do”. Now you (all the other amazing women drivers reading this) and I know this is not to be true, but regardless my wife could never have pulled off a reverse park into that space!

And the opportunity didn’t come only because I happen to be in the right spot at the right time.  In all honesty the opportunity started some 29 years ago, at the age of seven, as I sat on my dad‘s lap and awaited instructions to change the gears on the drive into town. From there began my building of skills and experience to have the choice to seize the opportunity – in this case a bloody good car park straight out the front of my local coffee shop.

In all honesty the opportunity started some 29 years ago, at the age of seven, as I sat on my dad’s lap and awaited instructions to change the gears on our drive into town.

So as I sit here with caffeine flowing through the bloodstream – watching the same cars continue their own ending circle of Ubud looking for the ultimate diagonal parking opportunity –  and I start to question all the opportunities I may have missed, purely because I didn’t have the skills nor experience to seize the opportunity. And yes I still do agree with my hippie compadres that there are no wrong roads in life (I’m a hippy at heart!). But I ask the question to you this morning: how many opportunities have you missed because you just didn’t have the choice…?

Update: My 3 year old daughter, whilst sitting on my lap, drove us home up the village road this afternoon 🙂

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