Happen to Life

Zach Clenaghan
January 8, 2018

I was talking to a friend the other day about future plans, and something she said made me pause and think:

“I trust that whatever happens is the right thing.”

She’s not the first person I’ve heard say something like this. In fact, I’m sure I’ve said it myself. I understand that having this viewpoint about past events is extremely useful. It allows you to cope with things that don’t go as planned. To believe that the world knows best in this kind of circumstance allows you to accept your previously perceived misfortune as a helping hand from the universe. It’s saying,

“no, you were wrong about your plans. You were wrong about what you thought was best, this change in direction is the better path to take”.

I get that. And I use that belief myself, all the time.

But when you relinquish all control of your life by believing that everything will happen as it should, and not taking deliberate action towards the things that matter to you, I think this is dangerous.

I believe that you should be deliberate in everything you do. Everything should be an active choice. Who you spend time with, what work you do, how you spend each hour. Make it all deliberate. Make sure it serves your purpose. It’s taking deliberate action that has got me where I am today. A place that is far removed from where I would have been by default, or maybe should have ended up. I can see this default destination in the people I grew up with. People that let life take them down the path of least resistance. I can see where I would have been if I hadn’t taken action, if I hadn’t made hard choices that most people aren’t willing to make.

I know where I’d rather be:

Here, on an Edumadic program, “working”

To believe that people just got lucky and fell upon the good life, is not going to serve you. It’s going to make you think you can’t change your circumstances, that you simply weren’t born at the right place, at the right time to live a fulfilling life, or achieve something great, or change the world, or whatever it is that you dream of.

And actually, you know what? Maybe you’re right!

Maybe some people did get dealt an amazing hand, and it was easy for them. And you see their posts on instagram, and they make you angry and sad that you weren’t dealt that hand. But right or not, having that belief is going to do you no good at all.

(Apologies for the boring example) In the early 2000’s, most people thought that Tiger Woods was the most talented Golfer in the world, maybe some still do. Talent falls into this category of chance, good fortune, luck. Talent is something that is given to you, that you don’t have to earn.

Tiger Woods was not the most talented Golfer in the world. Tiger Woods absolutely was the hardest working Golfer in the world. There are many stories of people that had seen Tiger at the golf course when he was not even a teenager, practicing the same drills from dawn until dusk, completely alone. Just him and his sport. 12, 14, 16 hours a day, doing one drill! I’m willing to bet that most people would be masters of their craft if they spent 16 hours a day for their entire life, practicing that craft. When you consider how much time that man has spent striving to be the best, it really is no surprise that he’s achieved what he has. But to say the reason he was the best is because of his talent, and not the devotion of his entire childhood (and adulthood) to mastering the sport, is completely wrong and honestly, an insult.

And yes, maybe he does have a talent for golf, maybe more so than most people. The truth is you can never know, so it’s for you to decide. Was he given greatness, or did he earn it? Which belief serves you best?

I’m sure most at the pinnacle of their field roll their eyes when people tell them how talented and lucky they are. They know, more than anyone else, that their success and achievements didn’t just happen. They know all the deliberate choices and actions they had to take to be where they are now.

And they know that letting life happen to you is going to lead you to a life of mediocrity. A life that looks exactly like everyone else’s.Things don’t just happen for people. You’re not going to win the lottery. You’re not going to be a Kardashian. You’re not going to get a $1 million dollar investment for your “amazing” business idea.

Stop believing the world is going to give you things. Go out and get them!

Take the risks, make the sacrifices, make difficult decisions. Do things you don’t want to.

Happen to life, don’t let it just happen to you.