“Once upon a time there was a productive, motivated young woman who knew how to get shit done.”
That sounds like the best start to a “happily ever after” story that I’ve heard in a long time.
The internet tells me that Thomas Jefferson said, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
We’ve been lying to ourselves ever since we were children with all this talk of fairy godmothers and Prince Charmings and happily ever afters. There is no cure all, no one big answer, no “lucky break.” To be lucky, you have to be ready, or in the words of Roman philosopher Seneca, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
Sometimes it’s easier to write off someone else’s success, saying, “Oh, they just got lucky.” There is something comforting in that mentality; a favorable roll of the dice is the only reason that someone else got what they wanted and you didn’t. No extra work needed. You tried, but things didn’t go your way. You simply aren’t lucky.
Or maybe you didn’t try hard enough.
Maybe the reason someone else got lucky and you didn’t is because they’ve been working tirelessly and you haven’t. Maybe they’re ready for their lucky break and you aren’t. Maybe you need to step up your game.
It can be disheartening to realize that you’re not trying hard enough to make your dreams come true. I think we are all guilty at times of waiting around for our fairy godmother to show up and give us something for free. Of wishing and wanting something, but not taking any steps towards actually obtaining it. Because then a scary possibility starts to take shape in the back of our minds: a realization that if luck doesn’t exist, and we fail, then it is really, truly our own fault for not succeeding. Not our fairy godmother’s, not the universe’s, just ours.
But maybe we need to learn to be okay with failure. Maybe failing at one thing will become the reason we are wildly successful at something else. Or maybe our failure won’t be helpful for anything other than knowing that we won’t hold onto the regret of remaining a bystander in our own lives, a dark cancer in the pit of our stomach that grows deeper and bigger with each “what if” and “if only”.
Maybe our luck is about to change for the better. Maybe it isn’t. Either way, let’s get to work.
Photo (FlickrCC) by Tom Simpson