Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chance, Opportunity, Fate

Today I want to think about three words: Chance, Opportunity and Fate.

I've heard this word used often when people are talking about something they should have done. It will be expressed in stories "I had a chance once to be something great, but...." I've been guilty of that myself. Many people I know in my day-to-day life don't know I have a blog that has been read by thousand's of people or that I coach writer's or that I've won awards. They know me as "the mom of the 4 girls". They see me in my ponytail with mommy jeans and no makeup. Just another mom in the crowd. Nothing special.

Every once in a while I start to feel a need to prove myself and I say "Well, I had a chance to work with a group from Princeton on a research project in Eastern Europe but I passed it up because I didn't want to change my wedding date." But as I have now been married more than 10 years I realize how pathetic it is to point back to that. I guess by inflating what we COULD HAVE BEEN, it helps us look better to ourselves on the days when we feel like a failure.

This word I've heard in reference to things that could happen in the future, many times with a hint of skepticism. This has been the case with my friend who is putting on the essay contest and is giving away a house as the prize. She had someone write a really scathing blog about the contest [the blogger nearly called the contest a FRAUD]. People will look at what could be a great opportunity [imagine paying $50, winning the house and then auctioning it off for $50,000. THAT is what I call a return on your money!] And pass it by. Unfortunately, most people won't see it as a potential way to pay off their own house, or start a new life for themselves. They'll say in a few years "I once had a chance to win a house for $50." And then say something like "I guess Fate was against me."

This poor word gets the blame for our own inaction. "It must not have been my turn" or a dark muttered "Fate" while shrugging ones shoulders. When will we stop blaming this four letter word for our complete lack of intestinal fortitude?? When will we decide our own fate? When will we take that chance, recognize that opportunity and live our dreams??

I decided a while back that I wanted to be the best I could be. That may not mean the absolutely best that exists-but it does mean being the best that Tiffany can be. I am amazed at the accomplishments of other humans. They have overcome amazing odds, fought overwhelming battles and accomplished miraculous things. The one thing most of these people have in common is a complete unwillingness to give themselves an excuse.

Last year my husband and I faced the possibility of losing everything. He'd just finished battling cancer which had not only ravaged his body physically, but had drained all of our savings and put us SUBSTANTIALLY in debt. During this time we sat down and watched the Will Smith movie "Pursuit of Happyness". We had almost no food, the engine in our only vehicle was dead and we were being told that we could lose our home. What cancer hadn't taken, the aftershock looked like it would.

As we watched the movie my hubby said "Why do I want to watch this. I'm just watching my life." It was so true, that it hurt. 4 kids, no money, no hope. But we didn't let that be the final word. We pushed hard and took advantage of opportunities given to us. We also decided to pursue happyness [happy-ness]. That isn't happiness as in Joy. I have decided that it really is the decision to be happy! A state of being happy, despite the 'ness' around you. [homelessness, joblessness, moneylessness, sickness, whatever-else-ness]

Will Smith's character faced impossible odds, but he didn't give up. He pushed harder, because he had to. Failure cost too much!

So as you're pursuing your writing dream think about these three words and decide which one you're allowing to control your future. Then take control back, and move ahead!

I have to go, I have a victory lap to run!!

Your Coach for the journey. Tiffany Colter

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Hi Tiffany,

Thanks very much for this post. I really needed to read something like this today.

For years I have put off one of the things I have most wanted to do and had the opportunity to do, for various reasons. Time wasn't right, money, lack of time, etc. Today I got up and got angry with myself for having let my dream of being an author slip away so many times and I determined that I would make this the time, no matter what.

Then I read your blog entry, and it was as if it was divine intervention - yet another sign that I needed to do this.

While I believe in chance, I believe we also make our chances. To have an opportunity and not take advantage of it (as long as it is legal, moral and ethical) is wrong, and especially when that opportunity is tied to God-given talent, it is very wrong.

Fate I'm not so sure about. What I mean is, I think there are things that may be destined to happen, but that in those things there is the opportunity to face them and to grow to be a stronger person.

So thank You Tiffany, for what I truly think was a God-inspired post that has helped to reiterate to me that I need to stop wasting my time and talents.