The Lost Art of Creating Your Own Opportunities

By Monroe Mann
Unstoppable Artists, LLC
Co-Author, Guerrilla Networking

We’ve all heard of the term ‘one-hit wonders’. And a big bravo to those individuals! I mean


that sincerely. The fact that someone even succeeded with ONE hit is pretty amazing.

Lasting success, however, requires that you go beyond the ‘one-hit wonder’ status, and continually push for that ‘second hit’, and then that ‘third hit’. And this requires that you continually and regularly create and make your OWN opportunities, and the time to start is now.

When I arrived on set at CNBC studios in Jersey a couple weeks ago for the taping of my segment, I made it a point to become as friendly as I could with everyone I met. My mission was to see how I could potentially turn my one hit into a second hit—to make my own opportunity.

For me, my ‘first hit’ was the invitation to appear on the show. The ‘second hit’ was—well, I didn’t know what it was at the time. That’s the key. I didn’t know how it would all unfold, but I did know that I had to turn opportunity # 1 into opportunity # 2. The only thing I knew is that I was going to try to turn the appearance on the show into a second hit. It could have been a return invite onto the show; perhaps a business relationship with someone I met on the set; it turned out to be an invitation by Big Idea web producer Paul Toscano to write a regular column on this blog. Groovy.

But it didn’t ‘just happen.’ It only happened because I found the guts to flat-out ask him, risking major rejection in the process. You see, when I arrived on set, he asked if I would write something for the blog. Always on the lookout for the next opportunity, I immediately asked, “I know this is only a one-time thing, but if I wanted to contribute more regularly, would that be possible?” And so a conversation began. And two weeks later, here I am, still blogging on The Big Idea website! How cool is that?!

And here’s my point: things don’t just ‘happen’ to me; I actively strive to make them happen. ‘Cause if you sit around waiting for someone else to make your dreams come true, you’re living in a fantasy world. If you think someone is just going to magically ‘discover’ how talented you are, you are seriously mistaken. Most importantly, if you think all the successful people in the world just somehow stumbled upon greatness, you are gravely misled. As computer genius Howard Aiken once said, "Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats."

In other words, success takes effort! MAJOR EFFORT! And it doesn’t matter how talented or amazing you are. To get the recognition you deserve requires that you get laughed at by nine out of the ten people you pitch to. It requires that you get slapped in the face and punched in the groin over and over again until finally you start getting some credibility. That proverbial rug? It’s been pulled out from under me—oh, about 327 times. And it takes every ounce of strength I have just to get back up, and then—am I crazy?—I actually step back on that damn infernal rug, already knowing that it’s probably gonna get pulled out from under me again. Am I insane? Maybe. More likely, it’s just that I have faith, and a lot of it. And surely you know this feeling too, right? Then guess what: welcome to world of successful people! Because that feeling means you are taking risks, and attempting the impossible, and doing what everyone else says can’t be done. And guess what this all results in: serious tangible progress and dreams coming true.

Years ago, I created a philosophy that I call Break Diving™. Instead of waiting for opportunities to float to the surface like most people do, Break Divers dive right in to the cold and icy waters of resistance and find their own opportunities. They live by something called the Break Diver’s Creed: No Rules. No Excuses. No Regrets.

That’s what I want YOU to do. Learn the lost art of finding and creating your own opportunities.

I call it a ‘lost’ art because these days, more than ever, everyone seems to want something for nothing. No one wants to do the hard work anymore required of success.

But I know the truth.

The truth is there still is a small minority of people who are willing to embrace that hard required work, and who are willing to sacrifice everything necessary to get to the top.

Well, I challenge you to become one of those people; to become a part of the minority. I challenge you to do more this week that have you done in the last six months. In fact, I challenge you to do more in these next three years than you have done in your entire life to date. Sounds crazy, but embrace it! The human mind and body are incredible creations! Use them!

When I was in basic training with the Army, doing muddy miserably 3am ruck marches in the rain, and I thought I couldn’t go any further, I would plead, out of breath, “How much longer drill sergeant?” “Suck it up and drive on, private!” they would respond. And so I did. And I drove on. And before I knew it, the march would be over. And I had succeeded. And after a while, I began to realize how much I was really capable of achieving.

Basic Training (and similarly my service in Iraq) taught me a lot of things, of course. But most importantly, my experiences in the Army taught me to believe in myself. To believe that I am capable of achieving great things. That I could endure almost anything. That I am absolutely UNSTOPPABLE. That is how I feel, and more importantly, that is how YOU need to feel. Because only if you feel unstoppable will you ever have the guts to do what ‘everyone else’ says is impossible. And ladies and gentlemen, allow me to remind you, the people who do the greatest things in this world are those who find the courage to do the impossible.

On that note, let’s get down to work. Here are five exercises I want you to complete this week. Feel free to email me and tell me how it turned out.


1. Live by the Break Diver’s Creed: No Rules, No Excuses, No Regrets. When someone tells you it can’t be done, or that you can’t do it, remember: No Rules. When you start to feel down on yourself, or start to think you don’t have enough time, remember: No Excuses. When you start to think you’re too old, not wealthy enough, or haven’t done something that you wanted to with your life, remember: No Regrets. The Break Diver’s Creed: No Rules, No Excuses, No Regrets. Learn it; Live it.

2. Create Your Ten-Year Plan. Write it out. On paper. Yes, with a pen and paper. Think big. Pretend I am a genie and that I can grant any wish you write down on that piece of paper. Be crazy! If you want to be President of the United States… write it down! If you want to retire to the Caribbean… write it down! Whatever it is, write it down. But don’t write, “I want to…” Instead, write, “I am going to…” One is a dream; the other is a reality in the making.

3. Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself. Look, life sucks and life is unfair. I acknowledge that. But so what? That’s not a reason for you to give up; if anything, it should be more of a reason to push forward to prove that you were right all along. We all feel sorry for ourselves every once in a while, but remember this: it does nothing for you! Don’t seek pity; instead, seek partners! Heck, I don’t want people feeling sorry for me; I want them partnering up with me, and helping me! And that only happens if you continue to push forward with great confidence and chutzpah. People like to help those in whom they have confidence—always remember that.

4. Create Your Daily To-Do List. Using your ten-year plan as a guide, start putting together a daily to-do list every night. EVERY NIGHT. Of all the things you need to do the next day. And don’t hold back. Put down everything you would like to accomplish in the next 24 hours in an ideal world, and then strive to do it! It’s okay if you don’t get it all done, but strive to get more accomplished each day than you did the day before. People often ask me how I am able to do so much in just 24 hours, and the answer is: I simply do more in 24 hours! Success means so much to me that I am constantly on the move, and constantly doing. I mean constantly. And that daily to-do list is what keeps me organized, on track, and inspired to do more.

5. Do It Right Now! Finally, over this next week, I want you simply do it right now. Whenever you have to do something, ask yourself, “Can I do this right now?” If so, don’t hesitate: do it. Don’t put it off. If you put it off, then you waste time later reminding yourself to do it. How to avoid procrastination: literally, just don’t procrastinate! When a task comes to mind, ask yourself, “Can I do this right now, in five minutes?” If so, get to work baby! If not, the task is too big. Make the task smaller, breaking it up into five minute chunks. That will make all the difference.

On that note, folks, I look so forward to meeting you all… AT THE TOP!
And yes, feel free to send me an email.

-Monroe Mann
Masters of Entrepreneurship
CEO, Unstoppable Artists, LLC and Loco Dawn Films, LLC


Books by Monroe Mann:
The Theatrical Juggernaut – The Psyche of the Star
Battle Cries for the Underdog – Fightin’ Words for an Extraordinary Life
To Benning & Back – the Making of a Citizen Soldier (Part I)
Guerrilla Networking (with Jay Conrad Levinson)
Start Your Own Coaching Business (most recent book, Entrepreneur Press, July 2008)
Guerrilla Marketing on the Front Lines (Contributing Author—Now Available)

Watch Monroe’s original Big Idea interview with Donny at: (Monroe’s coaching and publicity firm)

Additional Related Websites. (Monroe’s tv and film production company) (Monroe’s 7-piece ROMP band) (Where you can read about all of Monroe’s books) (Where you can read about Monroe’s film/tv credits) (Monroe’s personal site) (Monroe’s co-author Jay Levinson’s website)