Was It Luck or Was It Willingness To Risk?
By Kate Benzin
Have you been lucky in life?
I have a very good friend who has repeatedly said to me that I’ve been very lucky all my life. She feels that I’m living my dream life simply because I’ve been lucky and not because of any conscious effort on my part. And she thinks that she’s been unlucky and that it’s her bad luck that is preventing her from living the life of her dreams. She believes that if she’d had the same good luck she says I’ve had, then she’d now have a very different lifestyle.
Of course, she didn’t know me years ago when I had some very, very difficult and depressing periods. She just looks at me now and sees that I am living the very life that I want. And in her mind, that’s because I’ve had good luck. She doesn’t realize that luck had nothing to do with how I’m living my life.
Luck had nothing to do with it.
I admit that I’m very happy with how my life has turned out so far. I have fulfilled my dream of living overseas – a fantasy that I actually never thought would come true. I have a beautiful home/office that I share with my three dogs. I travel whenever I want. And I now spend most of my time as a writer, an occupation in which I never imagined I would be successful.
How did this all come about? Was I just lucky? Was this my destiny all along? Or did I play a very important part in what my life has become?
When the questions are that transparent, the answers are obvious. Of course, I played a very important part in developing my current lifestyle. But what made it possible for me to realize so many of my dreams while others don’t?
Let’s go back to when I was in my late 30’s and feeling restless about being in a doctoral program that probably meant staying in one place for the rest of my life. I had already been through several different unfulfilling occupations. I loved the graduate program I was in, but was unhappy that it would probably mean living in one place for the rest of my working life. You see, I had always wanted to live and work overseas.
Because of that, I was on the lookout for something that would help me determine if I was already doing the right thing or if I needed to make a change. That’s when I saw an ad for a job in Indonesia. I knew nothing about Indonesia, but I applied for the job.
When they offered me the job at the end of the interview process, I didn’t hesitate – I immediately accepted. I didn’t know how I was going to deal with school, my dogs and cats, my house full of furniture, and many more things. But I was willing to take the risk – I was sure that I would figure it all out somehow.
I did figure it all out, and that move opened many new doors for me, including my becoming a writer who writes mostly about fulfilling dreams. My latest book Transformative Travel describes how I fulfilled a lifelong dream to trek in the Himalayas – another risk that rewarded me more than I could ever say.
Willingness to risk means that you’re not afraid to fail. It’s true that many of us have been taught over and over that we must succeed at everything that we try. But actually, it is quite alright to fail – in fact, if we don’t fail sometimes, then it means that we’re not trying enough new ventures.
When Einstein went to Princeton, he was asked what he needed for his study. He replied, “A desk, some pads and a pencil, and a large wastebasket to hold all of my mistakes.”
The larger the risk, the bigger the possible pay off.
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