NECESSARY BUT NOT SUFFICIENT

Magic formulaHave you ever known someone who was trying for months and months to have a baby? Or did you ever have a single friend who had been looking for years to find “the one” to share her life with?

The advice often given to these individuals is, “it will happen when you stop trying”, which is completely absurd.   I wasn’t a Biology major, but am pretty sure if you stop “trying” to have a baby, you won’t get pregnant.   And if you’re not getting out of the house, the chances of finding your soul mate will be significantly reduced.

I know what you’re thinking. The advice is not meant to be taken literally, of course.  Rather the message is, “when you stop stressing about it, you will relax and create an environment more conducive to getting {insert dream here}.”

For those who know me, I’m someone who tries very hard when I want something.  I’ve created Vision Boards, written business plans, gotten mentors, Feng Shui’ed, meditated, drummed, chanted, been hypnotized, tried acupuncture, taken countless classes, volunteered, practiced repeatedly, fallen on my face, endured criticism, studied libraries of books, sought out psychics, took risks, hot yoga’ed, spent sums of money, traveled abroad, lit incense, journaled religiously, climbed mountains, sweat lodged, and role-played.

What I learned is this:  no matter what your dream, trying very hard – diligently and unwaveringly – is absolutely NECESSARY for your dream to come true, but not SUFFICIENT.  There are no guarantees that if you work your butt off, you will succeed.  But it is almost certainly true that if you don’t TRY, you will fail.

This reality is hard to swallow.  It means that there is no magic formula of:

  • [Dream + Hard Work + Unknown Factor = Guaranteed Success]

Some might say that the Unknown Factor in this equation is “luck” and I would agree, with “luck” being defined as a fluke, fate or chance.   This is not reassuring to those of us with dreams.

What this means is that we need to both: 1) work very hard AND 2) live on faith that our dreams will come true if we keep trying.  It is the FAITH – our belief, passion, and maybe even mild delusion – that keeps us going when we are not seeing a return on investment for all our efforts.

As for me, there are days when my faith waivers and I consider re-writing my dreams to something that feels more within my control.  And then, I remember that Oprah was told she “wasn’t fit to be on TV” and Vera Wang created her first wedding gown at age 40 after being rejected from Vogue (for more inspiring “failure to fame” examples, click here).  So, I bounce back, read an inspirational blog, and keep trying, while secretly wishing for someone to figure out that magic formula.

Don’t stop trying.

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