Everyday we miss opportunities. I witness it everyday, and am often reminded how I could have missed the biggest opportunity in my life. I watch others how they miss their opportunities to invest, opportunities to love, opportunities to be loved, opportunities to give, opportunities to receive, opportunities to forgive, opportunities to save on tax dollars, and even opportunities to witness their own missed opportunities! But the greatest opportunity in my life was and continues to be tinnitus.

For me, tinnitus was a life changing, life altering, mind-blowing opportunity. It gave me the biggest opportunity of my life – an opportunity to learn, grow and become a better human being. Now, tinnitus continues to flower my life, and continues to seed more opportunities in my life, such as the opportunity to mentor, to teach and coach others.

For a long time I saw tinnitus as an enemy, a negative energy force in my life that would systematically destroy my will to live. Actually, the ringing would actually awaken me to a new reality filled with endless oceans of opportunity.

I have no medical evidence of this, but I would say that tinnitus probably affects those people who have had to confront many “fear based opportunities” in their lifetime. If you interview people with tinnitus, you’ll see that many of them live fear based lives. They worry a lot, or have experienced some sort of trauma, or deal with serious ailments (emotional or physical).

More and more studies are now indicating that tinnitus is not actually a ringing of the ears, but rather a ringing of the brain. And the part of the brain that lights up on the technology map, is the part of the brain that experiences fear. Is this coincidence?

It would explain why some people experience some relief using prescription drugs for depression. It numbs the fear processes. However, if you think you are going to handle fear through chemicals, that’s not the answer either.

Tinnitus is the opportunity for you to learn, grow and begin of your NEW life as a new person. The more you resist the change, the more the fear will control your life; therefore, the tinnitus will continue to throw up all your fears at you. Such as, the fear of not getting better, the fear of living, the fear of failing, the fear of trying.

The way I did it, the way I healed my tinnitus, was to heal the parts of myself that was fearful and in pain. It didn’t take one day. It took 4 years before I began to really get it. And, sometimes, I still see the opportunity to learn and heal those parts of myself that cause me pain (and fear).

Just yesterday, two people walked out from my seminar. I was teaching internet marketing, but the first hour, I dedicate to personal development. There is no point teaching a man to fish if the man has no motivation to fish. My ideas sometimes challenge some people. Still, when they walk out, my ego goes straight to fear and starts the little voice saying things like “see, your still not perfect!”.

I really don’t aspire to be perfect (well maybe at the piano), but the truth of it is, my fear of not living up to someone’s else’s expectations still haunt me. It takes practice for me to let it go. I usually just practice not going to the fear by reminding myself “it’s not my stuff, that’s their stuff”. If my intention is authentic, then why bother go to the fear?

Having faith in something helps tremendously. I married a Catholic woman whose parents are staunch Catholics. I’m a minister’s son raised in the United Church. Not wanting to offend anybody, and having a lot of fear about the outcome, we didn’t go through the ceremony of baptism for our son.

I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but no one ever said anything! Our faith and belief systems play a large role in our lives. It’s not something we practice on Sundays in a place of brick and mortar. We live “it” everyday.

And there are two things I practice with deep awareness. I practice being grateful for the things I do have in my life. The second thing is I practice being aware of my fear based energies, reactions, words, actions, attitudes, beliefs, etc. I don’t focus on my fears. I just choose to be aware of my fears when they come up. Recognizing my fears gives me the opportunity to choose a different thought or feeling, hence changing my life.

I have the two reminders on the wall next to the toilet! No kidding. They are blue plastic cards pinned up next to the roll. So everyday, first thing in the morning I see the question: “What are you grateful for? And “What opportunities can you be aware of right now?”

Gratitude and awareness – it’s that simple. Just be aware that the opportunities in your life are abundant. You just need to awaken to be able to recognize them. Tinnitus is one of those opportunities in your ocean of opportunities.

Paul Tobey is a professional motivational speaker who has performed many seminars for ringing ears sufferers and is author of Tinnitus Free Living a Tinnitus Handbook Self Help Guide which helps people reduce their tinnitus volume.