I had two friends with the same problem: they were looking for an apartment and couldn’t find anything. Let’s call them Peter and John.
Every day, both would do an online search to find apartments to rent, but Peter also asked his friends for help. He communicated his struggle to others, went out to look for options that might not be listed online and asked questions.
Want to take a guess on who found the apartment first?
You got it.
John thinks Peter is lucky and mumbles to himself how life is unfair. He didn’t find a home yet. I understand what John is feeling though:
Everything feels easier and safer when we believe that ‘things’ are outside of our control.
If we believe that everything happens to us instead of us being responsible for what happens, then it’s not our responsibility, so we don’t need to worry or think too much about it.
Is it really easier to live a life you’re not happy with than to try and cause change? To be a passenger instead of the driver of your own journey?
In Portugal, we call it the ‘ostrich’s trick’: as tempting as it sounds, pretending that everything is alright and turning your head the other way (or bury it underground) won’t solve anything (…it will probably make it worse). Action brings in change, and we are responsible for our own future.
(Come on, John. Grab the wheel!)
Would you consider Peter lucky? Or would you say he worked hard to find a place? Maybe you’re thinking: “why not both?”
It probably helps if we try to define luck. How about:
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca
Sure, we can prepare for something. We can build a portfolio and keep it updated. That is preparation.
…but is opportunity really something we have to sit around waiting for?
I don’t think so. I believe we can create our own opportunities.
Just last week I realized that I never applied for a job opening in my life but haven’t been without work for long either. I was about to say to my friend that I was just lucky, but then I remembered how hard I worked for the opportunities that were ‘given to me’:
I reach out, offer help, try to start meaningful conversations, show my work, communicate when I’m available and look for opportunities. I ask questions, practice kindness and take notes. I keep in touch, research, and truly care about others.
Yes, I am responsible for my own opportunities, but I’m also responsible for my mess ups. It’s scary, but I think it’s worth it.
We can surely wait around for job openings, but what if we take action instead?
Make your own luck.