Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Making things happen

When I was in elementary we had this art assignment to draw a timeline of our lives. It was rather uninspired but I went for it as I was eager to get good grades and it seemed simple enough. I can't recall everything I drew but I know that I got a bit lazy and I ended the drawing with a picture of me holding a load of cash in one hand and a winning lottery ticket in the other.

I got a pretty decent mark on it and brought it home to show my parents. My mum was unimpressed, "What is that all about?"

"I'm going to win the lottery and then I'll be rich and I can afford to do whatever I want."

She was livid. She told me she was utterly disappointed in my lack of imagination and the fact that I would be so shallow and unmotivated to rely on chance for possible future wealth.

I didn't take it well. I was miffed that she'd shot down my clever drawing and in the tradition of many mothers and daughters the world over, I was right and she was wrong.

But as I grew older I came to understand what she'd said and what my 'prediction' had meant. I began to see the sense in her anger and why she'd been so upset.

It's super easy to think that life is something that happens to us. Some people believe it's a series of unpredicted events. Others see it as entirely pre-determined and impossible to alter. But the cliche 'Life is what you make it' actually holds quite a lot of wisdom. To me when I was ten, saying I was going to win the lottery was a sort of whimsical wish for a future full of fortune. To my mum it was me saying that I didn't possibly think I could generate my own wealth, that I expected chance was the only way I'd happen across it.

The odds of winning the lottery are slimmer than the odds of being mauled by a hippo - or something like that. I'm just making stuff up for the sake of a good example.

The point is, relying on chance for you to get your dream job, take your dream holiday or earn your dream income is all about dreaming. It's a fantasy and whilst I'm a huge advocate of positive energy, wishing for something to happen isn't going to make it so.

If you want to achieve something it's up to you to go for it. Trust me, the odds of you achieving something you've worked for are far better than the odds of that winning lottery ticket being in your hand.


  1. I've been reaping the rewards of setting realistic goals and pursuing them in earnest, especially with my 30 before 30 project.

  2. What a great post! I love that this memory stuck with you and that you see your mother's reaction for what it was. Clearly you've moved beyond those sorts of fantasies and she has nothing to worry about.


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