Antonyms Can Move Me To Action

Joining up with Five Minute Friday this week (for the first time in ages) with the prompt: opportunity.

A set of circumstances that allows me to do something I want to do or have to do. That’s how most dictionaries describe the word opportunity. That sounds simple enough, right? Here’s the opportunity, go for it! But how often do those circumstances line up, and we just glance and walk away? There are countless times in my life where I coulda woulda shoulda, but didn’t. How about you?

I once taught a class on character qualities. Each week we tackled a term such as gratefulness, obedience, compassion, contentment, truthfulness, etc. There was a list of almost 100 virtures — we didn’t get through them all, but you get the point. All these qualities were things we wanted for ourselves and to instill in our children. But what affected these young mothers the most was hearing the opposite of these qualities. If you don’t teach your children to be truthful, they will be deceivers. If we do not learn to be compassionate, we will be indifferent.

The synonyms for opportunity are just what you’d think — here are a few…

chance

possibility

 occasion 

luck

break

moment

Those are good words too.  Full of hope and well… opportunity. But are they catalyst language? Do they cause you to move forward and “seize the day?” I’m afraid, for me, those terms are a bit over-used in our culture, and I don’t give them enough weight. I hear them all the time. Many of us have an abundance of those …opportunities.

Funny fact, I often look up the antonyms for a word rather than it’s meaning. I think those words have more power over me. I like words. I doodle words. I am a writer of words. I download word games on my iPad. I use words a lot. So of course, I did look up the opposites of today’s word, and here’s what I found…

misfortune

tragedy

setback

failure

trap

hindrance

mischance

pitfall

Now I think those are words that grasp my attention. I can easily say, “oh, I missed that chance.” Many times I’ve heard others say they lost their lucky break. But it’s often said nonchalantly, and without much regret. However, when I look at we really missed, is there a measure of what we also gained? A setback? A pitfall? A tragedy even?  I don’t want any of those in my life, and I’m sure you don’t either.

See? None of the women in that class wanted to be indifferent or greedy. They didn’t want their children to become liars. Those are catalyst words! Those qualities grabbed their attention. They understood then the necessity of teaching truthfulness, gratefulness, etc. They became very proactive. And “active” is just what opportunity needs. If I am passive, I am allowing the possibilities to slip by. In doing so, am I opening the door to a setback or even a failure? Maybe so.

I don’t know what opportunities will present themselves to me this week, but I think I’ll give each one a bit more consideration rather than just a passing glance. How about you?

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