Missed Opportunities

185. While we stop to think, we often miss our opportunity.

This is an interesting one. There are certainly cases where this is true, and stopping to think for too long will cause you to miss your opportunity. And of course there will be cases where some extended deliberation is prudent.

Let’s look at a few examples.


It is often the case in business where an opportunity comes but once. If you stop to think about it too long, you will miss your chance. Instead, you might have to go with your instinct without being able to take the time to do a prolonged analysis. For some personality types, this will be more natural anyway. For the more analytic, less intuiting types, this could seem very unnatural.

Just remember that in business, there will be cases where waiting too long to make a decision will in fact rob you of the ability to decide at all.


This is a big one for a lot of men. The anxiety of walking up and talking to a woman that has caught their eye can be powerful. There is a big hump of inertia and self-doubt to get over, and it just has to barreled through.

Procrastinate a bit longer, and in a moment or two the opportunity has passed forever. She left, her friends returned, some commotion arose — the universe aligned you two for an instant, but then entropy kicked back in and the chance was gone.

So just remember, rejection is better than regret. Stopping to think about the different ways an interaction could go wrong, or right, is a sure way to miss your opportunity and end up with nothing but regret. Instead, be a man of action and make things happen.


Then there are those life-shaping decisions that we all face. Where to live? Where to work? Who to spend the rest of our lives with? Again, yes, there are cases where we must decide swiftly and act decisively, but for these longer-time-horizon considerations there is usually some time for deliberation.

Set aside some quiet time, when you are sure to be uninterrupted, and go over your options and the different possibilities. Many find that an hour every Sunday is an excellent time for present awareness, past reflection, and future projection. Those more analytically minded folks will likely want to quantify situations more, while those driven more by “feel” or gut instinct may not. Comparing pros and cons is an enduringly popular technique.

Just remember to do what works for you. There are times when it does pay to slow down and weigh your options. Just so long as you know the time frame within which you’re operating and you don’t let the opportunity pass you by.


So today, Publius Syrus has brought us a warning about missed opportunities. About times when stopping to think causes us to miss out. We looked at a couple generic examples where often, decisiveness pays off. We also gave ourselves some leeway to know that at times, we do want to slow down and consider all our options before making a decision.

In the end, it will be up to us to choose our response when faced with important decisions and opportunities. And all the work that we put into ourselves and our capacity to think and achieve will make it more likely that we choose wisely.

Until next time,


This is one of those times where you’ll have to make a decision — do you take my advice and read this classic book of moral sayings, or do you close this post and go back to mindlessly scrolling your Facebook and Instagram feeds? Think about it too long and you’ll take the path of least resistance. Instead, I’ll help you decide — just buy this book. Your future self will thank you.


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