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Food for Thought: Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

How often have you heard the phrase “he (or she) was just in the right place at the right time” when describing an opportunity?

What does it mean to be in the right place at the right time? I’ve thought about this phrase a lot recently.  The connotation is that luck, or serendipity, call it what you will, is the driving force behind such events.

My premise is that we are all in the right place at the right time on countless occasions without even realizing it. The key is not being in the right place at the right time per se, but recognizing that you are there. It’s about awareness of your surroundings, recognizing potential opportunities, and capitalizing on them.

Some of you may know that I am a big fan of Eric Berne, who wrote Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships and, through that book, introduced transactional analysis for the first time to millions of readers. He said: “Awareness requires living in the here and now, and not in the elsewhere, the past or the future.”

The next time you find yourself “in the right place at the right time” ask yourself the following questions:

Did this opportunity come my way simply because of where I happened to be? Did it land in my lap through sheer luck? Or did it “come to me” as a result of being aware of my surroundings, being in the here and now, and recognizing opportunity?

And while you’re at it, you may also want to ask yourself:

How many other times during the course of the day, month or year am I in “the right place at the right time” and don’t even realize it because, rather than being in the present, in the here and now, my mind is preoccupied with something else.

Please reach out. I’d be delighted to hear from you.

Mike Cobb


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