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Jugglers By-Pass Opportunities

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In mythology, "Opportunity" was explained by the God Portunus -- the protector and the leader of ships into ports and harbors. His job was to go out to meet each ship coming in from the sea and guide that ship into dock. Portunus was hairy in front and bald behind. Can you guess why? The front hair was so that as he guided each ship into harbor the people waiting for their ship to come in could grab onto his chest hair; guide him and the ship he was pulling to their dock; and then get what they needed. His back was bald because anyone who missed grabbing his front hair lost the chance of catching Portunus -- or opportunity -- as he fled past them. Any senior citizen will verify these life principles by saying “opportunity is seldom presented and easily lost.” A major problem with Jugglers and practically all struggling Black youth is failing to take advantage of opportunities easily within their reach. This, I believe, is traceable to a number of slavery related factors (e.g. hopelessness; "Make Do"; promises not kept; not having expectations of a better tomorrow) that have been culturally transmitted.

Besides, there is a long history of Black people being taken advantage of by Europeans who offered "opportunities" for a price--and that price, infinitely excessive, was paid without ever receiving benefits of the "opportunity."

Typically I have discussions with struggling Black youth in horrendous situations and for which none of their relatives or friends are able to give meaningful help. Following discussions on opportunities available when they have no clue as to what to do, we have often exchanged telephone numbers. However, not one has ever called or returned my call or responded to information about opportunities sent to them by mail. They do not follow up with people I recommend they see or call; do not and will not go to places that have scholarships waiting for them; and do not read pertinent material. Yet, when we do again speak they are always very nice. These youth have a built-in passivity that prevents them from generating assertiveness; that subdues a sense of indignation to unfair things happening to them; and a "I refuse to let this happen" type response in situations that affect their lives. This learned pattern reflects the apathy carried over from slavery. Here is an actual situation involving a nice young Art Technology School graduate. Me: "Do you know a great deal about fixing computers or preparing figures to be placed in books or preparing books for publication?" Him: "Sorry, i don't really know much about repairing computers...and as far as preparing images for books, i really have no experience. Sorry I couldn't be any help to you at this time." Me: "So why don't you learn. The more skills you have the better your chances of success. Extra skills enable you to shift into another area when your area closes down." Him: "Don't have the time to learn, especially since I'm working 2 jobs 7 days a week." Me: There is always time if you make yourself more efficient in how you use your time. Look to see how you can make what you do quicker or create new ways. Look to see how you might be wasting time doing this or that. He: no response except that if he found someone he would let me know. This is typical of people who falsely think they are "Too Busy." I have not seen anybody that was "too busy." Instead, it is more likely that are simply inefficient and that prevents them from taking advantage of opportunities (Bailey, Blacks Entering The Marketplace).

Other self-defeating opportunity problems include: not spending enough time determining what you did to start, enhance, and/or maintain the problem (e.g. procrastinating; easily distracted by other things); refusing to give work your best effort; persisting in staying at a job not in your best interest; and wasting energy and time in getting little or nothing done. These are important because they let you know where to self-correct and thereby to be ready to take advantage of opportunities. The old saying: "Chance favors the prepared mind" remains true.


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