Mr Sage and I had Chinese for dinner the other night. The deliciousness was, of course, finished off with a fortune cookie each. Mine read: Opportunities multiply when they are seized. For the first time in a very long time, possibly ever, I found myself agreeing with that tiny scrap of waxy paper. So much so that I’ve been carrying it around in my phone case ever since. It got me thinking about some other things that resonate, and I thought I’d share them here.
1. Opportunities multiply when they are seized.
I spent much of my young adulthood unemployed. There were a lot of factors at play in that, but possibly the biggest one was that I had no experience. You know the story – everyone does. I did, eventually, manage to get a job as a shop assistant and everything changed. In a matter of months, I was being invited to apply and/or interview for other jobs about once every couple of weeks – and on one occasion by a company that had previously rejected me, not even bothering to respond to my application. I seized the opportunity that was in front of me and dozens more sprouted from it.
2. Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
My mom told me this on more than one occasion. I think she got it from Oprah, but Google tells me it was first said (or written) by the Roman philosopher Seneca. I don’t consider myself to be a particularly lucky person. I’ve entered plenty of raffles, lotteries, and tombolas in my life, and I have won exactly 3 times – a Lunch Bar, a jar of cookies, and a BB gun which was promptly confiscated as soon as my mom found out about it. (But not before I managed to shoot my little brother in the backside. Sorry, Alex!) Luck is not my friend.
Skill, knowledge, and preparedness, however… Well, given the right opportunity, that’s a winning combination. Just ask 9 year old Sage, who won R10 (enough for a whole, full-sized Magnum!) for an essay on “Why I love my library”.
What I’m saying is luck isn’t so much about luck as it is about being prepared for the opportunity when it comes along.
3. Success is what you decide it is.
If you’ve been anywhere near the self-help section of a bookstore in the last quarter of a century, you’ve definitely heard of the 5 Love Languages – the idea that everyone experiences and expresses love in one of 5 ways: gifts, time, words, service, and touch. (I’m super simplifying here, but you get the idea.)
I think the same is true of success – everyone has a different idea of what it is. For some people success is how much money they have. For others, it’s all about who they know and how popular or well-known they are. There are all sorts of other ways to define success. It’s easy to get caught up in someone else’s idea of what success is – but if you measure yourself with someone else’s yardstick, you’re bound to come up short. I know, I’ve spent pretty much all my adult life feeling like a gnome.
So now I have my own definition of success. It’s not a huge, global thing. It’s small, and personal, and mine. Every day that I do something towards my dreams, I’m a success. Every time I get out of bed when I don’t want to, I’m a success. Every session I end with more words than I started with, I’m a success. I am successful. And you know what? So are you.
And now I think I’m going to go buy a lottery ticket with the number on my fortune. Wish me luck! ;P