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Missing the Subway

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People always talk about “missing the boat,” but I think differently.

I think of opportunity as a series of subways, running through a station, one after the other.

What station you are in doesn’t matter. You could be near or far, but that’s irrelevant. Where you start is just a matter of chance, and isn’t something to worry about at all.

What time you arrive doesn’t matter either. You may have missed the subway, and that’s fine. It’s a missed opportunity, but nothing to really worry about, because after all, another subway is coming.

The reason this metaphor is important is because a missed subway is physical, and it’s an easy thing to accept. Seeing things in this way helps you accept the present.

What happens when you get to a station and the subway has gone?

Well, you definitely don’t run. There’s no point.

What you do is wait for another subway to pass.

Be patient, it’ll get here.

Then, get on that one. After all, you have places to go.

* Filed by Julien at 4:00 pm under random


Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

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24 Responses to “Missing the Subway”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Agreed.

    Though for me it might be busses :) If I miss a bus, I’d wait for another one. But I always have the choice to take action and walk to wherever I need to be (when the destination isn’t far).
    Even if you miss an opportunity, you can always find a way to make one.

  2. Ian Robinson Says:

    Nice metaphor. What do you do when you get on a subway headed to the land of gold, the the car is driving too fast for the tracks and everyone on the train is complaining about customers?

    Thanks for the post

  3. Joe Says:

    Good point. Though to tell you the truth, another boat will probably eventually come too, just maybe not as soon. Also if it is a large boat or everyone else prefers the subway, you may have fewer people to compete with to get on. Good analogy.

  4. Topher Says:

    Julien, it’s great to see you’re posting again, I love this blog to bits.
    I can see the sentiment here, but it feels like you’re leaving far too much up to external forces, ie the subway, rather than making headway and driving there yourself.
    I get that it’s your choice to pick the subway, and to stay on it, but once you’re on it, aren’t you just coasting from there?
    Interesting post nonetheless

  5. Ara Bedrossian Says:

    I like this because it shows how it’s your choice on how far you go and how many different stops you can use to switch directions. Better than a similar metaphor I just used in my blog, about how you can sit and stare at the climbing wall, and let others go ahead of you, or you can jump on and try to get to the top. You might fail, but you’ve got to fall to get higher.

  6. Buffalo Bob Wagner Says:

    Many years ago I learned of this truth.
    “The opportunity of a lifetime shows up every two weeks”.
    I like your subway analogy.
    Thank you for the reminder.

  7. Christine Says:

    I like this post: it’s a friendly reminder. Life is definitely a give and take. It’s almost like delivering a birth. There are times to push and times to breathe. When stuff is happening, allow it to happening and when it’s time to push(and you will know) PUSH!

  8. Shelby Says:

    Great metaphor. It sometimes feels as if there is a frenzy to do something because everyone else is doing it or because of fear there might not be anything else coming, yes. I also like to think that at least on a subway there are usually several stops along the way and if something isn’t quite right you can get off and and get on a different train for a different route. Jumping off a boat means you get wet and have to swim or sink if you don’t like where you are going. I prefer to have options. Happy to see you are blogging again, Julien!

  9. Dennis Do Says:

    Agreed Julien, no point in worrying about something that is out of your control.

    On a side note, also good to see you back and blogging, even if it’s short like this.

  10. Felix Says:

    Sometimes, you’re queueing for that one special luxury express train, and despite all your efforts, it’s just too crowded and shuts its doors on you. Then you feel bad, because you’ve let so many other trains slip by you to get onto this one, and now you probably won’t make it where you meant to go by the time you meant to be there.

    But so what? Take the next train, take a different line, take the bus instead, hail a cab, go on foot – after all, it’s all about the journey anyway!

    Thank you for a wonderfully timed & appropriate metaphor, Julien. :)

  11. Martin S. Stoller Says:

    I like the sentiment here.

    Once I took the wrong subway. But because of that, I met some wonderful people and saw sites and places I normally would not have known existed.

    Life is like that.

  12. Anita Says:

    I agree. What a great metaphor. Often we spend too much time regretting missed opportunities or running after the departed “train”. There ARE 2nd chances and new opportunities available if we choose to live in the NOW and know that another adventure is on the way.

    Thanks, Julien. Exactly what I needed to move forward.

  13. Jonas Ellison Says:

    Love the analogy, Julien. Perfect. So true.

  14. Nina Grenningloh Says:

    Thanks for that, Julien! So true. We’re often too focused on just THE ONE thing [subway], that we don’t even notice the other subways coming through. It takes a mindful approach to your life + your goals to recognize opportunities where you didn’t expect them in the first place. I’m all about that. Thanks for making us aware!

  15. Jeff Pasquale Says:

    Great post. I fully agree!
    So much, in fact, that I wrote a book about it (Subway Life – An Underground Guide to Balanced Living).
    On Amazon – http://tinyurl.com/6szbf88
    Life is like riding the subway without holding on!

  16. Jess Says:

    love it, what a great metaphor

  17. Cynthia Says:

    Great post. Also really liked Anita’s … “another adventure is on the way.”

  18. laura Says:

    Love the metaphor. It put things in perspective and helps one to have a “no regrets” viewpoint. Enjoy your posts, thanks much Julien!

  19. Werdna Says:

    South By was that lame, huh?

  20. Denise Bell Says:

    Julien, You’re just freakin’ amazing. I wish I could put you in my head for about 24 hours. Great post.

  21. Rico Compagnie Says:

    This reminds me of a quote by Helen Keller:
    “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened to us.”

  22. Ryan G Says:

    Seems like sugarcoating to me, but I do appreciate the positive thinking.

  23. Steve Schellert Says:

    Julien

    I had to read this several times to completely get the message. Short article intrigued and kept me glued. There is no shortage of opportunities. We live in a world full of daily opportunity so if you miss one, there are others coming. Regroup, get ready and then put your foot forward.

    Steve S

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