Do You Have a Good Sense of Timing?

Think about all the wonderful things that have happened in your life. Think about the day you found your job. Think about the day you met your husband, your wife, your boyfriend, or your girlfriend. Think about the day you met your best friend or the day you bought your house.

If you really think about it, most of the pivotal events of your life and most of your greatest achievements were a result, in part, of good timing. You got your job because you happened to bump into an old friend who works there, and she told you about the opening. You bought your house because a coworker just happened to invite you to his pool party, and you saw the “For Sale” sign in the yard when you drove by.

It can almost send shivers up your spine to think about how close all these wonderful events came to not happening. But they did happen, and that serves as a lesson to us that timing is just essential to success as hard work or talent or personal contacts or preparation. Timing determines when something is bound to happen and when something is improbable.

To achieve your goals, therefore, you need to have a good sense of timing, and you need to understand how timing impacts your success or failure. A baseball player must swing the bat at precisely the right moment if he intends to hit the ball over the centerfield wall, and a visionary must time his actions perfectly if he hopes to give life to his dreams, because most dreams fail not from a lack of effort or sincerity, but from poor timing.

For better or for worse, all the important events of our lives prove to be the product of timing. For instance, have you ever had an automobile accident? Have you ever collided with another car? At some point in our lives, most of us will be involved in an automobile accident.

But just think about that for a moment. What if that other car hadn’t been in that spot at the moment the collision occurred? What if the other driver had paused for just one second to adjust his rear-view mirror before backing out of his driveway? What if you had caught that red light at the last intersection instead of barely making it through?

If something had only occurred to alter the moment when both drivers’ cars arrived simultaneously at the point of impact, the collision would never have occurred. But the collision did occur, and it occurred because the timing of your arrival at that spot coincided precisely with the arrival of the other driver at the same spot… and the rest is history.

You cannot control all the elements of timing that go into a planned venture. Regardless of how meticulously you may have planned ahead, you could never have predicted the power outage that happened on the day of your grand opening or the new business regulation the state assembly decided to adopt during their special legislative session.

Sometimes we fail because of bad timing. But even though we cannot control everything, we can foresee most things if we will only look and pay attention to what is happening around us.

Most people are aware of King Solomon’s beautiful soliloquy about timing. In the Bible Solomon wrote, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV). There is “a time to be born and a time to die… a time to weep and a time to laugh… a time to be silent and a time to speak… a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:2-8, NIV).

Of course, the unspoken reality that is hidden in these verses is the reality that the reader needs the wisdom to know which time is at hand. Is it God’s time for us to speak up or God’s time for us to remain silent? Is this the time to weep or is this the time to laugh? Only experience can teach us to know the difference. And unfortunately, experience usually comes with some pain.

So if you have failed in the past, you need to understand what went wrong. Did you have the wrong idea, or did you simply try to execute your idea at the wrong time? If a lack of knowledge or a lack of planning did you in the first time around, then fix those things before taking another shot at your goals. But if timing was your problem, try to time your next shot a little better.

Be aggressive when it’s time to be aggressive, but be patient when it’s time to be patient. Be fearless when it’s time to be fearless, but be cautious when it’s time to be cautious. Be strong when it’s time to be strong, be flexible when it’s time to be flexible, and be sure to utilize your strengths at just the right time. After all, you cannot fly a kite on a windless day or build a snowman in the month of June.

Leonard Ravenhill, the English evangelist and writer, once said, “The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.” In life, therefore, there are “seasons” when certain things become possible. But the opposite is true, as well. In life, there are “seasons” when things are virtually impossible.

One key to success, therefore, is to know the difference and to act accordingly. When circumstances are against you, you should approach a decision cautiously. You should be deliberate in your calculations, and you should ask yourself whether the time is right to take your shot at the goal. But when circumstances are favorable, you should never hesitate to move forward with your plans.

More often than not, when a “season” is unfavorable for the achievement of a dream, you will know it. But the bitter truth is that we often lie to ourselves. We often tell ourselves what we want to believe instead of the truths we need to face.

When it comes to your goals, therefore, tell yourself the truth and try to pick the optimum time to maximize your potential for success. If you have prepared yourself for the work that lies ahead, if you have gained the knowledge you need to succeed, if you have surrounded yourself with the right people, and if you have chosen the right path for yourself in life, let the circumstances of your current “season” dictate whether you forge ahead or slow down, whether you pull the trigger or wait for the target to move closer.

Sometimes we must push on the door of opportunity to pry it open far enough to walk through. But when we push until our arms hurt and nothing happens, we need to wise up and make some course corrections. Success is a product of doing the right thing in the right way… at just the right time.

Throughout history, the great achievers have been those men and women who have recognized the signs of the times and have moved to take advantage of the trends in their society. Don’t be a stick-in-the-mud. Be contemporary. Be relevant. Sense the direction that the winds are blowing and the currents are flowing, and don’t try to launch a cassette company when everybody is listening to digital.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment in life is to miss a good opportunity when it comes your way. But the next biggest disappointment is to try to create an opportunity that isn’t really there. So use some common sense as you prepare to take your next shot at life, and be smart enough to know what lies beyond the horizon for you and your dream.


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