There was a contestant on one of those TV talent competition shows. She had a divine voice and a confident stage presence. When she was done singing, one of the judges said “Wow, you were born with a gift”.
Clearly it was well intentioned, but I cringe when I hear those kinds of compliments given to people. To me it sounds like the judge is saying “wow, how lucky you are to have rolled out of bed, walked on this stage, and won this contest with no effort”. The performer had undoubtedly been putting in years of work on her voice. She also has obviously honed her public speaking skills. No human is capable of walking in front of an audience as relaxed as she did without training. It takes years of practice.
It reminded me of when I heard someone say to a friend “well you’re lucky you’re skinny”. I was thinking, “lucky????”. I know this person is in the gym before the sun comes up, eats salads while her friends are eating pizza, and goes to sleep while everyone else heads to the bars. That ain’t luck.
It’s unfortunate that so many people believe we are born with a pre-arranged destiny. The truth is there are steps and methods to become talented, rich, healthy, or anything you want through effort alone. Successful people often appear to have been bestowed their talent at birth because they’re usually working alone or in the dark. They train while we sleep.
Ray Lewis, the greatest linebacker of all time, is thought to be born a genetic freak with a skill set unattainable by average men, but he tells a different story. While talking to the Elon University football team before a game, he admitted that he was considered too small to play the position, “The only thing I got special is I made up my mind to be special. I’ve never been the biggest, the fastest or the strongest. All I have is work. You may outrun me in the 40, but I haven’t met a man who can outwork me”.
There are plenty of things that you can’t control in your life, and some people choose to use those as excuses. No one’s life is easy. We can all make lists of excuses of why we can’t achieve our goals. Winners focus on the one thing that is solely in their control; work. To believe that luck decides your outcome is simply superstition. Don’t make dreams, make plans. Work beats luck any day.