A window of opportunity is a really short period of time when an action can be taken to achieve a desirable outcome; emphasis on “short” because these opportunities don’t last forever and you might have to wait for a really long time before seeing such opportunity again.
The thing about windows of opportunity is that you need to be able to recognize them and act fast. They exist all around us if we’re really keen on finding them. The truth is, once you set your mind to achieve a goal, you become more alert on ways to accomplish that goal. After recognizing an opportunity, you need to strike while the iron is hot, or as people also say, make hay while the sun shines. You can either do it confidently, or do it dumb, just do it either way. I say do it dumb because sometimes you might not have all the facts or all the answers, but if you know that this opportunity will help you achieve your goals, DO IT DUMB!
Some of the most important things in my life have been a result of seizing windows of opportunity. Here’s one of my many stories.
When I started university, I was in the Computer Science Honors program with no concentration. Because of the trajectory I had envisioned for my life, I knew that I needed to take some pure science courses but some of these courses were either difficult to add to my schedule or I was prohibited from taking them in the program that I was enrolled in.
One day while at work, I was chatting with a colleague about how I really wanted to take those science courses but I couldn’t. As we were speaking, he did some research into my school’s computer science programs and found that I could add a Biomedical Computing concentration to my current program. Right there and then, he made me put in my application to switch my program from Computer Science Honors to the Biomedical Computing stream. I wanted to take some time to first figure out everything that could be impacted by this switch but he insisted that I should apply first and worry about the details later. At this point, I was almost 3 years into my program, I had a little over 1 year to take all the science courses I needed and complete my degree requirements. I gladly accepted this challenge and went on to graduate with flying colours. Turns out that this program was discontinued as at the year I was graduating (2019, or probably even earlier).
I saw this window of opportunity and I took it, even though I was more than halfway done with my program, even though I hadn’t figured out all the details.
Sometimes other people will spot your window of opportunity and point it out to you. It helps to be connected to the right people who will gladly give you the nudge and the push you need. It also helps if you know exactly what you want or at least have an idea so that when your window of opportunity comes around, you’re ready to take it. Write down a list of all the things you want to achieve, do your part in working towards your goals and watch as the windows of opportunity unfold!