One great life quote that I carry around with me is that “Chance favors the prepared mind.” This statement, made by Louis Pasteur, is one that often comes out as “Luck favors the prepared” or “Fortune favors the prepared mind,” but as far as we’re concerned, they all really mean the same thing. When you prepare yourself for life, chances are often in your favor. (And yes, I’m also thinking of Hunger Games’ Effie Trinket saying “May the odds be ever in your favor” right now because – well, how can’t you??) That does not mean that you will be the luckiest person in the world, but it does mean that if you put yourself in a position for success, luck is likely to be on your side.
So let’s talk about this a little more in-depth. I truly believe that opportunities fall in your lap and that it’s up to you to see them for what they are. That said, if you’ve prepared yourself for anything that might come, you’re more likely to be able to jump at that opportunity than have to pass on it. The most obvious example that occurs to me is that of schooling. Not every area of employment requires advanced studies and others require extensive degrees. Knowing what might be expected of you on the career path you choose is important.
I have mentioned before that I majored in theatre in college before switching. I have several friends who make their living as actors and crew – some who have their degrees and others who never finished. It wasn’t necessary for them. They had the natural skills and they were prepared for what might be asked of them. When the opportunity to work arrived, they jumped in with both feet. That said, there are many other career paths that do require further education. Knowing that piece of information will put you in a much better position to be successful. If you want to be a teacher, you’ll need a formal education. If you want to be a successful salesperson, all the schooling in the world won’t help if you don’t have that natural charisma. Each and every situation will require its own skill set, so be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
If further education isn’t for you, go learn a trade! Go to bartending school or apprentice with someone who owns their own construction company. Be the hardest worker that they’ve ever met. Kevin Costner has made (some of my favorite!) statements about how you don’t need to be the smartest or most handsome person in the room, but you should never let anyone “out work you.” When people see that you are prepared and driven, opportunity often knocks.
To be clear, this doesn’t only apply to employment. Being prepared for relationships, major purchases – really anything – will put you in a better position for luck to find you. When I met my husband, we were 14 years old. We met on the first day of freshman year of high-school. We both always felt that there was something special between us, and even dated for two months before we broke up (we were only 14!), but we remained friends for ten years. We each dated other people, having several serious relationships along the way. When I moved back to Chicago after college, we had a conversation about trying a real relationship and the rest is history.
I have always felt that it was lucky that we met. Lucky that on that first day of freshman year, we were in seven out of nine classes together. Lucky that we’d remained friends for all of those years. What we learned in the interim though, was what we wanted out of a partner and what we didn’t. What we would accept in a relationship and what was a deal breaker. I’m not sure what would have happened if we’d been together since we were 14, but I don’t think it would have turned out like this. That wasn’t what our story was meant to be and luckily, when it was our time, we found our way back to each other.
Being prepared is empowering in and of itself. Find the confidence to know that you can do it. I believe that you can do it. I believe that we are each forces to be reckoned with in our own individual way; And if you feel that fire to learn and work hard, chance will favor your preparedness.