Picked up David St. Lawrence at Betty Lineberry’s Eagle’s Wings bed and breakfast Thursday afternoon and we headed out Christiansburg Pike in search of sushi at Kabuki just off U.S. 460 on the way to Blacksburg.

David and his wife Gretchen live in Charlottesville but will be moving to Floyd County as soon as their new home is ready on recently-purchased land near Franklin Pike. When one or both come to town, it provides a welcome opportunity to share sushi or Thai food as well as stimulating conversation.

David’s book, Danger: Quicksand Ahead…Have a Nice Day, is a necessary guidebook for dealing with a changing world and his blog, Ripples, provides constant fodder for rethinking your life.

“You need to recognize that opportunity means change,” he writes. “If comfort is important to you, your choices of new opportunities are severely limited. A lot of people grumble about their jobs, marriages, and living quarters, but find any number of excuses to avoid changing any of them.”

That was the springboard for our discussion while digesting raw tuna, salmon and the like Thursday night. Time spent with David is not just a mental exercise but a necessary exploration into that fine line between success and failure. He challenges conventional norms on what life should or should not be and how one should or should not accomplish that which gives life substance and meaning. He left corporate life (Sun Microsystems in Palo Alto, California) to seek one of those life-changing moments and never looked back. He didn’t need to. Opportunity knocked and David St. Lawrence didn’t hesitate to open the door.

But how many others would stop and think about opening that door? How many would analyze the situation until the cows came home before opening the door only to find that opportunity had walked away and caught a bus to Toledo?

Unfortunately, those who think about doing far outnumber those who do. They think, they analyze, they ponder, they agonize and then they bitch and moan because opportunity got fed up and took a hike.

You can think or you can do. You can talk or you can act. You can contemplate or you can accomplish.

Jumping at opportunity, of course, is no guarantee of success. You could fall on your ass. That’s the risk of life. But even in failure, the risk takers often emerge stronger and more determined to seize the next opportunity that comes along.

To modify a cliché, those who can, do. Those who can’t…well, they just can’t and they never will.