When you think about your dream—what you are striving to achieve in life—I am sure you have some plan; some routine you follow day in and day out to get there and to make it happen. Maybe you are moving forward. Maybe you are in a rough spot. But regardless of your situation in life, there are certainly untapped opportunities. And these opportunities just sit there waiting to be had. They will sit there for an eternity if you don’t recognize them and utilize them.

These opportunities are nothing but moments in your life. If you are not willing to ask yourself, “How can I make the best of this moment,” you won’t grow to the level you are capable of. You are missing the key ingredient to success.

Moments create momentum. That phone call you never made, that email you never sent, or that handshake that would have changed the path for you; they were all opportunities you missed. These moments could open up a sea of opportunities only if you made the best of them right when they were presented to you. Or they may just pass as fragments of time not leaving a trace of regret because you never realized what you missed.

Every moment counts; even the ones you spend watching funny cat videos on YouTube. Well, I have nothing against cats, but imagine if you could take that half hour and reallocate it to sending three emails to people who have been successful in their fields, whether you know them or not; where would it get you? See if you can connect, if you can have a valuable conversation. Maybe it would result in nothing, or maybe it would create a relationship that changes your whole life. Who knows! But I can tell you this for damn sure; the cat video will not do that for you.

I understand that positive thinking is crucial, but merely positive thinking is not enough. Action is crucial, but merely action is not enough. Action with purpose is crucial, but merely action with purpose is not enough. It is all these and your ability to seize the moments that determine your success in life. Moments is the stuff that opportunities are made of. Why? Because if leveraged consistently, these moments create momentum—the consistent reliance on positive action that opens doors for you and knocks down walls. What creates real success is continuous forward hyper momentum. Never undermined the moments.

Like money, time has an opportunity cost. Unless you make a habit of asking yourself, “Is this the best use of my time at present,” you will not realize the opportunity cost of time. You will see a truckload of opportunities pass right in front of your eyes and you wouldn’t even realize what you just missed. I guess ignorance is bliss for some!

There have been innumerable experiences in my life when the smallest of gestures created opportunities for me only because I decided to act at the spur of the moment. Whether it was walking over to have a brief chat with the speaker after his keynote address, or sending a thank you email after a brief encounter with someone at a networking event, my moments determined my possibilities in the future.

This is the singular most important determinant of what we call luck. A lot of people now come to me and say that I have been lucky. I find it mildly amusing that they only count my successes. If I told them that my successes represent only 1% of the chances I took, I’m sure they would be able to do the math to count my failures. I made the best of the moments I had, but not all of them created opportunities for success. Sometimes I achieved success; other times, I learned. Either way I ended up winning.

Throughout my book, The First Dancer, I have shared examples of people who discovered the real value of the open secret called time. Joyce, Jamie, Santonio and Elson; all made the best of their moments one way or the other. They all had the success mindset, they were creators of their circumstance and not victims of it, they were willing to reinvent themselves, they had attitudinal leadership ingrained in their psyche and they all had bias for action. To me, they were all first dancers. That is how they created opportunities out of thin air. You too can attract unlimited opportunities like them if you watch out for “opportunities” garbed in seemingly trivial moments. Remember, your success is but a means to achieve excellence; your wealth merely a tool to create a legacy for your generations to be proud of.

© Majid Kazmi 2017

Majid Kazmi is an entrepreneur, community leader and board member based in Toronto. He is a Partner & Co-founder at uGen Group (www.ugen.ca), and the Co-Founder & CEO of Valu Ventures Inc. (www.valuventures.ca). He is a former Board Member at Toronto Workforce Innovation Group and H2O4ALL. Kazmi tweets as @MajidKazmi1. Click here to see his personal website.