Whenever something good happens to a person, we attribute it to either hard work or good fortune. When we perceive ourselves to be working in much the same fashion, not only do we focus our gaze more keenly upon their good fortune, but we also tend to be a little envious. We may even ask: Why was I passed by?
The better question may be: How did I miss this? If we are passed by, we need some very direct feedback to figure out the why; but, if we look at our own actions (and don’t get bogged down comparing ourselves to others), we have a shot at not missing any more golden opportunities. Golden opportunities, of course, are the hallmark of fairy tale living.
So, how did this golden opportunity come to be? How did we miss it? How can we prepare for the next one?
Donors Are Everywhere
There’s a character-type in fairy tales called Donors (so named by Soviet folklorist Vladimir Propp). These are the fairy godmothers, talking animals, possessed trees, and other figures who show up and prepare the hero for what lies ahead by testing them, giving them some magical tool, or both. When we accept that – as human beings – we exist in a state of near-constant learning, then anything and everything around us becomes a kind of donor including ourselves.
- Look at your education, that which you received in school and that which you sought for yourself (probably on the inter-webs), your educators were donors and your subsequent knowledge their donations.
- Look at your experiences, those encouraged by those around you for your development and those you sought for whatever reasons may have motivated you (entertainment, rebellion, hormones, etc.), every friend and coach and waitress and homeless person was a donor and their donation was how you were shaped by those interactions.
- Look at yourself, however harsh or kind you may be to yourself, you are your primary donor.
Yes, the world is full of suckiness. Yes, this sucky world is full of golden opportunities. Yes, you are an arbiter of gold in a world of suck.
You Direct Development
The fact of the matter is this: if you missed an opportunity, it’s because you weren’t looking in the right place at the right time. There’s only so much you can see at any one point. When you miss an opportunity, forgive the oversight and move on.
Look at your education. Look at your experiences. Look at yourself as you are; right here, write now:
- I am an arbiter of gold in a world of suck, and I want to live my fairy tale.
- I am an arbiter of gold in a world of suck, and I want to live happily ever out there.
- I am an arbiter of gold in a world of suck, and I choose to be hero and donor.
Make Many Donations
Invest in yourself by taking time every single to do just one thing that makes you happy. Invest in yourself by taking a class that gets you closer to your dream, or subscribing to a magazine where you’d like to see your work published. Invest in yourself by putting yourself out there and asking for help when you need it.
The elves made the shoes only after the shoemaker cut out the pieces according to patterns he designed. He could not have maintained his shop’s success after they left without being just as talented as those tiny, magical men. If you are ever laying groundwork for opportunity, eventually it will have to cross some part of your path.