We never know what life will bring us. Thankfully our hearing is always open, constantly supplying our subconscious mind with 100,000 bits of information every second.
So when something presents itself as an opportunity, our hearing is ready.
One secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.Benjamin Disraeli
Are you in? Or out?
There's a saying that we're more likely to get the opportunity to dance if we're already on the dance floor. The same is true of hearing. It's not intended to be something we turn on and off at will. It's designed to catch everything—to let the brain decide what to keep and what to throw out.
Hello? Anyone home?
Imagine the phone is ringing. On the other end is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but they can only phone us the once. We do not know beforehand that the phone is going to ring. It is completed unexpected.
If hearing was something we deliberately had to switch on when we thought we needed to hear something, we'd miss the phone call... and the opportunity. It's why our hearing never sleeps. Because opportunity is about being in the right place at the right time—which could be any time, any place.
Hearing is there to ensure that if anything happens where we currently happen to be, it will let us know about it. What's more, it will helpfully prioritise what it hears according to relevance.
The telephone example above perfectly illustrates how opportunity is often unexpected. It can come from any direction, from any source, at any time – often when we least expect it.
Fortune favours the prepared mind. Louis Pasteur
It may be something someone says. Something we overhear on the radio or television. A thought that is sparked by the way someone says something. Or a long-forgotten memory triggered by a sound in the environment. The important thing is to have access to the opportunity in the first place. Which means keeping our hearing working at its best: prepared, empowered, protected.
If we ever start believing that hearing is optional – that we're supposed to choose what we hear – that's when we'll find ourselves on the slippery slope to fading away. Because we are closing the door to opportunity.
So the next time someone claims they hear everything they want to hear, ask them politely how they know.