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Old September 24, 2000, 09:37 AM
Dien Rice
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Default Watch the open window

A window of opportunity can sometimes be open a moment, then close again in an instant. If you miss the moment of opportunity, it may never come again. Here's an example.

If you go to or, and look up the author "Paul Davies," you will find a lot of popular science books. You'll also find his books in almost ANY book store. Professor Paul Davies has written many really great books - I highly recommend them. He also made some important physics discoveries. In fact, there is something in physics which is called the "Davies-Unruh effect" which is partly named after him.

I had the opportunity once to have lunch with him. It was just me, Paul Davies, and another guy named Richard Josza, who has himself done a lot of important work in the field of quantum computing (trying to develop new, faster computer which uses quantum effects).

Now, let me tell you - in physics, I'm still relatively junior. But in physics, Paul Davies and Richard Josza are famous for their work, and Paul Davies is also (especially in the UK and Australia) a TV celebrity, explaining science at a popular level. How did I get to have lunch with these two luminaries in their fields? Here's how.

I saw the opportunity, and grabbed it on the spot. I was attending a conference of the Australian Optical Society in Adelaide, Australia, in December 1997, which was being held at the University of Adelaide. Everyone who was at the conference would go to the same place for lunch.

I went and got my lunch, and went to find a place to sit - and I noticed Paul Davies sitting by himself at a table. I saw the opportunity - so I asked if it was okay for me to sit there, he said "okay," and I sat next to him. I figured that many of the other people were too "star struck" to have the courage to sit next to the famous Paul Davies. I saw the opportunity and grabbed it. Richard Josza then came and joined us....

We had a great discussion about quantum computing - which is what Richard Josza is famous for, and which Paul Davies was interested in. And little old me - a NOBODY - was talking about this with two luminaries in the world of physics. Why?

Because I spotted the opportunity and grabbed it. There was a room full of people there who could have ALSO grabbed the same opportunity - but either they didn't realize it, or they didn't have the courage to do so. But I saw it, and I decided that this opportunity to talk with two famous physicists one-on-one was too good for me to miss!

In some cases, I believe you make your own luck. But in other cases, the opportunities come to you. Most people let the opportunities pass them by - and then they wonder why they never get anywhere. I try to keep an open-mind for these opportunities, and if I see the opportunity, I try to make sure I don't let it get away! You can do the same thing.

I would say I get many very interesting and important opportunities for many things coming my way every year. Several great opportunities a year. Some of them do get away, but I try to grab them if I can. However, I've noticed that MOST people don't even try to grab them. Most people let the opportunities just sail right on by....

What do YOU want to do? Is your mind open to seeing the OPPORTUNITIES when they come your way?

Good luck keeping your mind open and with grabbing those opportunities before they sail on by!

Dien Rice

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