4 Lessons A Sunrise Taught Me About Missed Opportunities

It was our last day in Lisbon. The plan was to wake up early, climb up to Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, the highest lookout point in city and see the sunrise. We’ve been up there twice before on our trip, once at night and once in the morning but this time, we were going to be there early enough to see the sunrise. Sounds like a great way to end the trip.It didn’t happen.

We overslept. We woke up a few minutes after the sun was supposed to rise so it was pretty bright out already. The thing is, we actually stayed pretty close to the lookout point and all we had to do was to climb up there.

Epic fail.

But with every fail, there is something to be learned. So what did I learn from missing the sunrise?

4 Lessons learned from a (missed) sunrise:

If you ruminate about the struggle, you’ll never get started

We’ve all heard the expression “The struggle is real”.

Although I missed the sun rise, I could’ve still made the climb and enjoyed the view of Lisbon one last time and maybe even see a little bit of the what’s left of the changing sky. But I couldn’t get out of my head and I remember being a wuss and thinking, “I’m so tired and the climb up is so hard”.

The struggle is only as real and as hard as we make it out to be.

If we’re constantly thinking about how hard a task is, we’ll either wait and stress ourselves out until the very last minute or worst yet, never get the opportunity to start at all.

Think about the hardest thing you’ve ever done. Was it really that big of a struggle or did you make it out to be a seemingly impossible task?

Everything is harder in our heads and if we don’t get out of our own thoughts from time to time, we’ll miss the sunrise.

Opportunities are everywhere but “timing” is everything

The sun rises every single day. We have the opportunity to see darkness change to light in a matter of minutes every single day. So why don’t we? Because, for most of us, it’s too damn early!

Timing is everything to us. We use “not the right time” or “not enough time” for just about everything and we, as a society, accepts it as the perfect reason because we use the same excuse to get out of things.

Opportunities will present themselves at inopportune times and we only have two choices when they do show up: believe it’s not the right time and let it pass or grab it and go. The timing will never be just right but the clock doesn’t stop for us until we feel the time is right, it keeps ticking.

The right mindset is the first step in preparation

I was up until 1am the night before and the thought of waking up early and making even the shortest climb filled me with dread. Even if I did wake up, who knows if I would’ve even dragged myself out of bed the next morning.

Mindset is the first step to being prepared. If we don’t have the right mindset, we won’t be taking that next step, no matter how easy the next step may be. If we’re not setting ourselves up for success, we’re defaulting into failure. Every thought counts.

Regretting regret

“Regrets only apply when we don’t learn from a situation. No sense looking back, look forward with new knowledge and no regret.” — Catherine Pulsifer

Regret can debilitate us or it can inspire us. We can think about the things we didn’t do or take it as a lesson learned and move on. If we’re constantly punishing ourselves by wishing we could turn back time, what good will that do for our future selves? Regret can force us to live in the past or it can serve as a powerful catalyst for change. At the end of the day, do we really want to regret all that time we spent regretting?

Opportunities are never missed; we allow them to pass us by. But with every passed up opportunity, a lesson will follow; it’s up to us to figure out what that lesson is and learn from it.

Let me know in the comments — What are some of the opportunities that you’ve “missed” and what lessons did you learn from it?

Here’s to the chase,


Originally published at possiblepursuits.com on December 11, 2017.

Living life imperfectly and as creatively as possible. www.alicevuong.com