Are you walking past money trees?

If there was money hanging off a tree, you'd be sure to stop and grab it, right? After all, free money is awesome. However, researchers found that when they hung dollar bills off a low hanging tree branch, most people didn't appear to even see it. Except, they did "see" it, because the researchers chose a branch that hung so low over the sidewalk that people had to move out of the way to avoid running into it. Only 12 out of 396 people bumped into the tree, which means the others were aware of branch.

But, they didn't see the money. If we can miss money that is literally hanging in front of our eyes, what else are we missing?

Most of us, in our careers, want to earn more money, but some of us miss opportunities that are hanging right in front of us. Here's how to not miss that raise, promotion or new job that is available for those who open their eyes.

Expect to see opportunity. Not one of those people walking down the street expected to see dollar bills hanging off a tree. And because they didn't see it, they weren't looking for it. You need to change your mindset so that you expect to see opportunity. Where does opportunity lurk? Well, for instance, when your boss puts a big project on you, do you see boatloads of work, or do you see the opportunity to prove that you're ready for a promotion?

Look around. We often get focused on the "goal." Must get this done, must get that done, and we do get it all done, but we miss the things along the path. Stop and look around sideways every once in a while. If you're working on a big project, stop and ask someone else on your team what her opinion is. Take the time to go to lunch with a former coworker who is now working at a different company. Read a novel. All of these things will give you perspective and open your mind to new ideas.

Be a positive thinker. Just like expecting to see opportunity, seeing challenges in a positive light will also open new opportunities. You can only build new skills when you think it's possible to actually gain these skills. Otherwise, you won't even try. Sometimes you'll fail, of course, but failure isn't actually the end of the road either. Failure can be the secret of success.

Make use of social media, like LinkedIn. Sometimes opportunity does come knocking, but only if it knows where to find you. If you don't have a good profile up on LinkedIn, how will a recruiter even know you exist? It's not hard to put it up there, and worth your time to make yourself visible to someone who might wish to give you your lucky break.

Now, the chances of having researchers place money on trees that you're walking past is pretty slim. But, the chances of new career opportunities appearing are pretty high for people who are keeping their eyes open.

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