The one Greek God we should really get to know.
‘The One Greek God we should really get to know’. By David Taylor-Smith
I had a great conversation with a very smart friend of mine the other day (shoutout to Richard!), we were talking about how it’s a shame that some people will miss some great opportunities sitting in front of them or offered to them and they never will appear again. I mentioned to him that I am in a great position to see this regularly by being a Coach, Athlete and Entrepreneur. I can visualize it even greater when thinking about Martial Arts and relating to hesitating a punch, kick, takedown or submission. Once you hesitate, the most ideal opportunity is gone and it can never be recreated.
Richard mentioned that my comments reminded him of a Greek god that personified ‘opportunity’ or ‘fleeting moment’, his name is Kairos.
The term Kairos is very complex but here is my attempt at simplifying it from my understanding, it refers to the right time, pregnant time, the time of possibility, opportune time or seasonable time. It is not measurable like Kronos (the clock time..seconds..minutes..hours). Kairos is the qualitative time. Some would say the perfect moment or the “now.”
Kairos moments are about applying proactive behavior, these behaviors which are decisive and sharp are the significant behaviors that the ancient Greeks believed altered destinies. Kairos moments are immeasurable and always leaves an impact on us, it is never a steady, neutral or stable moment. When researching more about Kairos, I read a great piece of commentary, ‘To miscalculate Kronos is inconvenient. To miscalculate Kairos is lamentable.’
Kairos is personified as a young man with winged feet, scales (representing occasions) balanced on a sharp razor, a long lock of hair hanging down from his forehead, which indicated that Opportunity could only be grasped as he approached. He is bald behind because once he passes you cannot grasp again. There are statues of him around Greece. Under one particular statue carved by the famous Greek sculptor Lysippos, the following epigram:
And who are you?Time who subdues all things.
Why do you stand on tip-toe? I am ever running.
And why do you have a pair of wings on your feet?I fly with the wind.
And why do you hold a razor in your right hand?As a sign to men that I am sharper than any sharp edge.
And why does your hair hang over your face?For him who meets me to take me by the forelock.
And why, in Heaven’s name, is the back of your head bald?Because none whom I have once raced by on my winged feet will now, though he wishes it sore, take hold of me from behind.
Why did the artist fashion you?For your sake, stranger, and he set me up in the porch as a lesson.
This personification and concept really resonated with me. I am very grateful to have been introduced to this ancient term/god and share with you. Keep Kairos in mind when opportunities appear, grasp it there and then or it will become a fleeting moment.
Richard Branson who is a man that understands Kairos once was quoted in saying. ‘If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!’.
Feel free to share this to friends and family. Them seizing an opportunity could be the start of an opportunity for you 😉