Three Guidelines for Carpe Diem

My soon-to-be-college-freshman son Nathan had a job interview this past week with a major retailer. From his perspective this was ok, from his parents perspective this was crucial!

He cleaned up nicely, made it to the store on time and was asked to wait in one of the back rooms for his turn. Following the directions he was given lead him to a room empty of people. He found this odd but didn’t panic. He simply waited.

While he was waiting he noticed a sign on the wall, an acronym that described in this particular retailers approach to selling. He memorized it.

Some fifteen or twenty minutes later someone came looking for him and explained that he’d been given the wrong directions, he needed to go to a different room. No worries, we went and waited with the other candidates.

When his turn came the interview went as most do, standard questions about background, hobbies, why he wanted to work there etc. until the interviewer asked how Nate might approach selling to a customer. In his own words:

“Dad, I did a quick mind thesaurus, changed up a couple of words, made sure I didn’t use the exact acronym and basically told him what it said on the poster.”

Twenty minutes after he got home they called and offered him the job.

Other than just having a major proud dad moment I was struck by a couple things that Nate did that we can learn from when it comes to seizing opportunities that present themselves everyday.

1. Relax
He could have easily panicked at being in what was obviously the wrong room. He didn’t. Instead he looked around and found the opportunity, in this case the poster.

It is often that moment when things seem to be going the most stray that we need to relax, look around and see what opportunities our sidetrack off of the beaten path might provide. When we get off course we see things we wouldn’t have seen had we stayed on course. Relax.

2. Observe
He didn’t just sit, hands folded, and wait for someone to come looking. He didn’t scurry back out of the room and go in search of some more direction. He looked around…and found a gold mine.

Even when we’re off into the deep weeds if we can relax we then get the chance to look around in detail. Not a rushing blur as we race back to our intended path but a slow, deep breathed, survey of what is around us.

3. Capture
Nate didn’t panic and rush out, he didn’t just notice the poster and make mental note, he captured the information and that made the difference.

When we find ourselves outside the normal course and we relax, we observe we then need to make the effort to capture the opportunities that present themselves. How many of us would have gotten to the point in the interview where we WISHED we had looked more closely at that stinking sign?

Opportunity presents itself everyday, especially when we’re off the beaten path. Don’t panic. Relax, Observe and Carpe Diem.

What opportunities might be around you right now? What opportunities have you missed by not relaxing, observing, or capturing?


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7 thoughts on “Three Guidelines for Carpe Diem

  1. This is a terrific story for everyone but especially young people to read. I forwarded it to my 13-year-old. So often, we let opportunity pass us by because we are distracted or in a hurry. That’s why my goal is to help others (as well as get better at it myself) to “maket he most of every opportunity.”