These are two words that people often use interchangeably:
One is “opportunities.”
One is “possibilities.”
As you get older, you learn that there’s a big difference between the two.
Opportunities are the concrete choices you have to make. They come in the form of job offers or acceptance letters from a school. There’s nothing theoretical about them. When you’re presented with an opportunity, you have to make a choice.
Possibilities, on the other hand, are just dreams. Could I move to Bolivia one day and become a goat farmer? Could I quit my job, move to Thailand, and teach ex-pats how to surf? Could I become president of a big company? Sure, anything is possible!
To put it another way: Opportunities are the things that can happen, and possibilities are the things that could happen.
But here’s where it gets important: When you’re young, it’s all possibility. You’ve got dreams and ambition, but not a lot of hard choices that need to be made. As you get older, the scale starts to shift. You’re no longer thinking about what could happen because you have choices that you actually have to make. You’re setting down, you’re starting a family, and you’re thinking about the opportunities that actually exist for you at this moment.
If you’re lucky, when you’re young, you can turn a dream into real work. You’re not tied down by anything — a job, a significant other, a family, a mortgage. That freedom gives you the ability to try something crazy. That’s what Stry.us was for me — a crazy dream that I actually made happen. But as you get older, the windows of possibility start to close. You still try to stay ambitious and idealistic, but you also start to become more practical. You start to make hard choices because you have to, not because you want to.
There’s a difference between “What will you do?” and “What can you do?” So when you’re young, and everything’s still on the table, take advantage of it. Those doors might not stay open for long.
That photo of the open road was taken by Jon Ottosson, and published on Unsplash.