I was born under a lucky star… It’s the same with all of us rich folk. No matter how hard we try, we can never seem to do anything wrong. It just seems that everything just goes right for us, all of the time…
Take the other weekend for example…
We (me, the wife and some random offspring) decided to go for a nice day trip to the coast. The sun was shining, the sky was cloudless and the birds were all singing their hearts out to all and sundry. It was what you could call, a near perfect day.
And so we set off for the coast, on relatively traffic free roads in the air conditioned comfort of my Bentley convertible (I must be going through a rich, bloated, plutocrat phase at the moment), merrily heading north for the coast. Sun still shining, birds still singing…
That was until we arrived on the seafront, stopped the car, and the first penny-sized raindrops splashed ominously on the windscreen. Damn!
Now the thing about us bloated plutocrat rich folk is that we know that we’ve been born under a lucky star, so we don’t bother to pack anything like coats or umbrellas when we travel. We simply won’t need them because the sun always shines down on us doesn’t it?
Nothing ever goes wrong for us…
So anyway, we strolled along the seafront getting wet, and then wetter, and then thoroughly soaked to the skin.
“We’re not happy bunnies are we?” noted the spawn.
I had to agree that indeed we weren’t ‘happy bunnies’ and so we decided to hastily retreat back to the dry sanctuary of the car.
Time for lunch maybe?
Now when tripping, if the weather’s bad, you can usually always retire to a nice pub or restaurant and while away a couple of hours in pleasant, dry surroundings can’t you? Particularly when you’re a bloated rich plutocrat like me, and can afford to eat – well, anywhere really…
Not when you’re on the Pacific coast of Australia you can’t!
Because generally speaking, the only people catered for in this gastronomic wasteland are refugees from the monstrous caravan parks which litter (I didn’t use that word by accident – don’t set me off on caravans) the eroding coastline – people for whom quantity takes precedence over quality every time. (Aside: If you ask someone’s opinion of a restaurant and they say “You get loads!”- don’t ever go there, and never ask that person’s opinion again).
Now look – I’m not a food snob…
I can eat Pizza Hut, Hungry Jacks and Macdonalds with the best of them, but the cuisine available on our chosen part of the coast wasn’t even approaching anything like that. It’s almost like they’d deliberately gone out of their way to create the greasiest, most unappetising and inedible pile of slop possible… And then served it up on a cracked plate along with dirty cutlery, and in surroundings which have remained steadfastly unchanged (except for wear and tear) since the mid 1940’s.
So we carried on driving, arrived at the next town, and settled into the establishment which looked the least likely to result in a bout of food poisoning… and endured what is probably the worst meal I’ve had since… well, the last time I visited the place really. Ever had bad fish and chips at the seaside? You’ve never lived. I can tell you where to go.
Oh well, by now it had stopped raining again, and so we abandoned what was laughingly called a restaurant for the delights of the nearest beach.
Now I don’t know whether you’ve ever been to the Jorvik centre in York. There’s an underground re-creation of the city from around 900 AD right through to the middle ages. And scattered around the whole attraction, are lifelike models of the people of the day… dirty, hunched, under-nourished, ferret faced creatures, all stinking and stunted, wearing rags, with grime-engorged finger nails and unkempt straggly hair.
And as we walked back to the car, it was like the last thousand years hadn’t even happened. If the people running the Jorvik ever want to really bring the attraction to life, I can certainly direct them to the right place… and they can also have some cold and rancid fish and chips while they’re there.
Look, I don’t want to upset the good people of the area… those throwback people I was talking about… they were probably just day trippers from the Gold coast – or some place like that.
And then it started to rain again – even harder!
We quickly took refuge in a shop – the sort of place you could buy the entire stock with the coins found stuffed down the back of your sofa – only to be confronted by the ‘hilarious’ offering that is the penis shaped lollipop.
“What’s this?” asks the descendant.
“It’s supposed to be a willy” I reply.
“Can I have one”, she says.
“All in good time”, answered the wife. “All in good time.”
Naturally by this stage, my wife has had enough. “This is the worst day out ever,” she says, “I wish we’d stayed at home.”
“It isn’t over yet,” I ventured optimistically.
“That’s what I’m worried about!” She says. She was right to be worried.
We drove further down the coast to another little place, which is actually very nice. We spent an enjoyable hour or so in the zoo there, watching monkeys playing with their privates, before the mudblood spotted a miniature train running down the coastal path.
“Can we go on that?” she asked.
I couldn’t think of a good reason not to (other than not wanting to) so together, we went to board the train.
And that’s when things really went wrong…
As I stepped on to the train I forgot to duck under the doorway, and walked smack bang full-faced into the metal door frame. There was a sickening crunch as my nose sort of relocated itself in various new places along the contours of my face. I staggered back, covered in blood.
“Does this mean we won’t be going on the train?” asked the progeny.
“I don’t know what hurts most,” I say “my head or my nose”.
“Neither” says my wife. “It’s your pride!” And of course, as usual, she was right again.
Anyway, that was quite enough for one day. After a visit to the first aid centre, and being patched up by an attendant who could barely contain his mirth over seeing a grown man sustaining such a spectacular set of injuries while attempting to board a children’s miniature steam train, I decided it was time for me to throw all of my toys back into my pram and take my ball home…
It was the perfect end to a perfect day!
You see, the opening line to this piece was a blatant lie.
I wasn’t born under a lucky star. And neither were you… and neither is anyone else for that matter. Well, apart from Sir Richard Branson maybe, who wrote a book titled, ‘I was born under a lucky star’.
Shit happens to me, it happens to you, and it happens to Bill Gates too I’ll venture.
Before I made a pile of money big enough to set fire to and keep a poor person warm for six months, I used to think that wealthy people led some kind of Utopian existence where they made their fortune by having fortune shine down upon them, and then used it to ward off all the tedious and nasty things that happen to the ordinary folk.
Well let me just tell you, I now know it’s not like that…
Success doesn’t depend on not having crappy things happen to you. It depends on how well you’re dealing with crappiness when it happens…
Let me put that a bit more politely. To be successful you have to deal effectively with the same kind of adversity which impacts everyone else. Once you do become successful, you’ll still have to deal with adversity and if you think success will make you immune to adversity – you’re wrong. It simply won’t.
We all get pretty much the same amount of luck in our lives. Oh sure, you go through times where nothing ever seems to go right. Everybody does, even me. But over the long haul… everyone gets broadly the same amount of luck. But It’s what you do with it that matters.
Here’s an interesting thing…
When something does go wrong… when it seems like Lady Luck is just having a laugh at your expense… that event will certainly almost always contain within it, the seeds of something more positive. You just need to look for it.
And if you take just one thing from this little story – make it a commitment to seek out the positive seeds in each piece of adversity you ever encounter. Believe me, they’re out there. I can promise you that.
Every single time I’ve had a setback, when something hasn’t worked out quite as well as it should have done, or a deal or project has fallen through, it’s caused me to actively seek out a better solution or replacement project which has led to even bigger things.
What I’m trying to get over to you is this… success of any type has nothing to do with luck. Over the long haul, and aside from some very extreme cases for which you or I do NOT qualify, there’s no such thing as bad luck. There is just stuff that happens to you… the same stuff that happens to me and everyone else at some point…
It’s what you do after a case of bad luck that matters.
Some people learn to look for the positive angle and simply move on. These are the lucky ones.
Others just give up. Those who give up are the ones who believe they’re ‘just unlucky’ and it’s forever their fate to fail. “Why ‘beat yourself up’ if the stars/gods/fates are against you”, they think.
But those who can truly move forward, are the people who know that luck really has absolutely nothing to do with it – that their success or failure is completely, utterly and exclusively, down to them.
How can you give in when there’s nobody or nothing else to blame?
After all, I’m not really a bloated rich plutocrat, (despite the ridiculous car I chose to use when writing this piece), I’m just a bog standard bloated millionaire (I wish – but at least I’m still working on it) going about my daily routine, creating my own luck by constantly moving forward in a positive and optimistic kind of way.
And through my persevering with seemingly crappy things like this blog, I’ve now started getting a steady stream of enquiries for work through Google. How great is that?
So no, I wasn’t born under a lucky star… A wondering cow more like.
Give that man a pat on the head. (Did you see what I did there?)