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Opportunity or Obstacle Thinking

Opportunity or Obstacle Thinking

Opportunity or Obstacle Thinking

We all face challenges in our lives, but it is up to us how we deal with these challenges. Do we turn them into an opportunity or an obstacle? Do we think with a positive mindset or a negative mindset? When life throws us a curveball, it is up to us to either react positively and turn the situation around or react negatively and let the situation hinder us from success. In this essay, I will be comparing and contrasting famous individuals who have used life’s events as either an opportunity or an obstacle.

Jim Carrey is a comedian and performer who were born on January 17, 1962, in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. At the age of 15 had to drop out of school to help support his family. Carrey’s parents lost their jobs, which forced Carrey, his parents, and three siblings to live in a van. At an early age, while in school, Carrey said that he was a quiet boy and did not have friends, but he did not have a problem making friends because he could always make them laugh. Carrey had dyslexia while in school, but he worked around this by developing a phenomena memory. Carrey also lived in a poverty neighbourhood (Bass, 2014, pp. 4-6). In 1979, Carrey quit his job as a janitor and started doing stand-up acts for famous celebrities such as Rodney Dangerfield and Buddy Hackett. When he saved enough money, Carrey bought a ticket to Hollywood to continue his acting career. Carrey also wrote himself a check for $10 million dollars in 1985 for acting services rendered and dated it for ten years in the future; he also wanted to prove that he did not have to work as a janitor. Writing this check was a pipe dream for Carrey, but his work ethic and drive were ‘Big.’ Carrey’s big opportunity happened when he appeared in “ In Living Color” (Biography Editors, 2020, pp. 2-3). But he did not become successful until he appeared in “Ace Venture: Pet Detective” in 1994. After Carrey landed his biggest role in “Dumb and Dumber,” he spoke out about his battle with depression. In an interview on 60 Minutes in 2004, Carrey talked about his mental health struggles, how he had to stay away from substances, including caffeine, to have a balanced mental state, and his use of Prozac which he thought was not for him (Biography Editors, 2020, p. 5). Although Carrey faced many obstacles in his life, he did not let them stop him from becoming a great actor. Carrey used his obstacles as an opportunity to do better in life. His burst of creativity was born out of desperation, so he was willing to take risks. Carrey did not let his struggle with dyslexia, lack of education, and poverty hinder him from performing. He would practice making funny faces in the mirror at night and entertain his classmates while in school. His dream of becoming an actor and performer was realistic. Carrey said when he was not acting, he would drive and sit in his car at Mulholland Drive, stretch out his arms, look out at the city, and say to himself, “Everyone wants to work with me. I’m a really good actor. I have all kinds of great movie offers” (Bass, 2014, p. 14). He would repeat those words over and over, convincing himself that there were movies lined up. Carrey’s self-talk helps him to succeed in becoming a great actor. Carrey told himself, “Movie offers are out there for me, I just don’t hear them yet” (Bass, 2014, p. 15).

Oprah Winfrey is a famous producer and actress who was born on January 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Oprah had a troublesome childhood, grew up in poverty, and was sexually abused by male family members and her mother’s male friends. She began stealing, skipping school, running away from home and became pregnant at the age of 14 with a son that died two weeks later. In spite of these difficulties, when Oprah moved to Tennessee with her father, she became an honour student and earned a scholarship to Tennessee State University.

Oprah begins working in radio and television broadcasting. Winfrey also struggles with weight loss, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Later she aired on a morning talk show in Chicago ‘People Are Talking’, and the show became a big hit; she also was asked to host ‘A. M. Chicago’ also became a big hit; later, in 1986, she opened her own television show ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ which was the biggest success in her life (Biography Editors, 2021). Thus, At the 2018 Golden Global Awards, Oprah stated that “People are in control of their destiny and their lives are shaped by the choices they make” (Smith, 2021, p. 7). Oprah also quoted that “Everything that is happening to you is being drawn into your life as a means to help you evolve into who you really meant to be here on Earth. It’s not the things that matter; it’s what that thing opens within you” (Smith, 2021). Oprah did not let her struggles define her; instead, she turned those struggles into opportunities to become the first African American female billionaire media executive and philanthropist. She did not let those struggles hinder her from voicing her opinion or helping others to find their voice and accomplish their goals. Winfrey had realistic goals during her life, which she accomplished through determination, preservation, and a positive mindset. She believed that she was put on this Earth for a purpose and was determined to fulfil that purpose. She was not afraid to take risks and inspired millions of people to be brave and relentless in conquering their goals and overcoming their fears.


Bass, M. (Jan. 7, 2014). Jim Carrey Success Story-From Struggling Dyslexic to Comedy Movie Mogul. Success Groove. Retrieved from,

Biography. Com Editors (Feb. 14, 2020). Jim Carrey Biography. The Biography. Retrieved from,

Biography. Com Editors. (Feb. 17, 2021). Oprah Winfrey Biography. The Biography. Retrieved from,

Smith, J. (Aug. 28, 2021). Oprah Winfrey on the Struggles and Challenges That Craved Her Path to Success. Entertainment Monthly News. Retrieved from,


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Opportunity or Obstacle Thinking?

Opportunity or Obstacle Thinking

Opportunity or Obstacle Thinking

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”  Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Do you tend to see events as opportunities or obstacles? How we view this is a complex result of deep mental programming based on our preferences, context, past experiences and lifestyle. This week write a paper comparing and contrasting famous individuals who have used life’s events as either an opportunity or an obstacle, for example, Helen Keller, Tim Tebow, Ronald Reagan, Thomas Edison and/or Victor Frankl. Did they focus on the positive or negative outcomes of challenging tasks? Did they generally facilitate or hinder the confidence and performance of tasks? Were they realistic and reasonable?

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