Chapter 6 - Discovering New Opportunities

Chapter 6 - Discovering New Opportunities


The key technique to freedom is to broaden your options.

As mentioned in the previous chapter, there are two fundamental ways to increase your options.

  1. Remove the OBSTACLES that are preventing you from picking certain options you already have.
  2. Discover and attract NEW OPPORTUNITIES.

Let’s dive deeper into why new opportunities are important and how you can discover and attract new opportunities.

When new opportunities enter your life, your world becomes a bigger place, full of more magic! You have more ability to pick the lifestyle you want.


Discover New OPPORTUNITIES

Freedom is only meaningful if you can choose things that you want. Our world is full of meaningless or trivial options.

  • Do you want chocolate or vanilla ice cream?
  • Would you like the meeting to be scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday morning?
  • Would you like to do Task A or Task B?

These are not meaningful choices. They are constrained to a very small set of options, often not including ANY good option.

  • Maybe you’d rather have a steak than ice cream.
  • Maybe you’d rather not attend that meeting at all.
  • Perhaps both Task A and Task B suck.

So, discovering new possibilities is essential since having many options is the best way to ensure that you can make MEANINGFUL choices.


How can you discover new opportunities?

Discovery is hard to formulate. To a certain extent, you’ll have to develop your own paradigms for what yields the best new opportunities.

However, there are a fairly common set of general approaches that work for most people:


RESEARCH new ways of doing things

Perhaps you know what kinds of things you want to do, but you want more flexibility in how you do them.

Maybe you think that the processes you follow at your company aren’t the best. In order to change them, you need to have other ideas for effective processes.

  • Search the internet for people who have had a similar challenge.
  • Look for blog posts, books, and videos on how other people are doing it.
  • Reach out and talk to someone who has experience.
  • Watch other people in action. Observe how they do it.
  • Go to a conference dedicated to the topic.
  • etc.

Once you have more ideas about what kind of processes are out there, you can try them out at work.


BRAINSTORM other paths

Sometimes the key is to create some space and contemplate other options.

Pick a specific area where you want more options.

Spend some quality time thinking about other possibilities. Doing this while walking or moving is the most effective.

Write down some of the best new options you’ve come up with.

Select one of those new options and try it out.


Connect with more PEOPLE

Building more connections is an open-ended solution to discovering new things. If you connect with people who are passionate and excited, you will inevitably learn new things.

  • Go to a professional meetup group on something you are interested in.
  • Attend a social event you wouldn’t normally go to.
  • Talk to people you don’t normally talk to.
  • Grab lunch with the smartest and most passionate people in your circle.
  • Reach out to experts you respect. DM them on Twitter or write them an email.

Connecting with people is a very open-ended form of discovery since you often can’t know in advance what kinds of opportunities it might yield. It’s one of the most valuable.


Put yourself in UNFAMILIAR contexts

Another path to discovery is to put yourself in a totally different context.

  • Are you used to only creating marketing materials at an office during business hours? See if you can find a marketing design competition online.
  • Are you used to hanging out with other data analysts? Try hanging out with some teachers or gym rats.
  • Do you usually browse forums dedicated to your favorite programming language? Join a forum for a new language you’ve never tried.
  • Do you always require documentation before you create something? Try building something with no plan.

Putting yourself in a new context will give your brain opportunities to create new associations, construct new paradigms, and develop new skills.

You will find that as you return to your usual routine, you have new ideas and insights that you didn’t have before.


Broadening Your Options - Recap

This is the twofold strategy to broaden your options.

  1. Remove the OBSTACLES that are preventing you from picking certain options you already have.
  2. Discover and attract NEW OPPORTUNITIES.

Combine those two and you will have much more freedom. You will be able to pick things that previously weren’t possible. You will have more options to pick from.


Liberation Exercise:

Set aside 10 minutes to meditate and reflect.

  1. Pick 1 thing that you desire right now where you feel like there aren’t enough options.
  2. Write down things you could RESEARCH that would make you aware of more options.
  3. Write down which elements you could BRAINSTORM about and discover more options.
  4. Write down the PEOPLE who might be capable of giving you new insights or options.
  5. Write some SITUATIONS that might help you evolve new insights.

In the next week

  1. Each day, spend a little time pursuing at least 1 new opportunity discovery activity.

Cultivate the HABIT of actively expanding your world.