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Make What You Love Happen

Think about a person in your life, or just someone that you know, who seems like they have everything. The perfect career, the perfect house, a great relationship, etc. Whatever it may be, we all know someone like this. Everything seems to work out in their favor. They seem like the lucky ones, the select few who live an enchanted life. I have felt this way about other people. No matter who you are, you have probably felt this way and have had others feel that way about you, whether you know it or not.

There was one time at an exhibition that I was having where I was chatting with a fellow photographer, and she told me that the whole show seemed to come so easy for me. She asserted that I must be very lucky to have been given a photography exhibition. What she did not know was how I got the exhibition, or how much I had to put into it. No one can ever know that side of things: the personal side. So often success is a way of thinking, not something that happens. To you, that person in your life who you envy might be the most successful person in the world. To that person, their life might seem to be in shambles.

The fundamental problem with viewing another person’s life in an envious way is the lack of understanding regarding how that person came to live that life. Was it luck? Did everything fall into their hands? This is often the assumption when looking at someone’s life from afar. It is easy to believe that they didn’t do the work or put in the time to receive something wonderful. It is easy to feel like we ourselves are doing so much work for very little return, when other people out there are just “lucky”.

I do believe that some things happen at the right time. Sometimes people are handed great opportunities. Sometimes luck plays a role in life. But most of the time, in most major success, luck has little to do with the equation. In order for someone to succeed at something, they have to dare to dream first. In order for someone to pursue that dream, they have to put a lot of effort and hard work into it. In order for their efforts to pay off, they have to not rely on luck but instead on the work that they put into it.

I believe that the more you give back, the more others will give to you. This is not luck, it is making your own success. It is not being handed a great life, it is putting great things into the world and allowing the same energy to come back. I used to think that if there was something that you wanted you had to take it full force. I certainly know people who have found success based on intimidation and ruthlessness. But that route isn’t for me. We get to choose how we live our life. We get to choose how we support and interact with others, and those small kindnesses can add up to big successes.

Alternately, but in the same vein, working for your goals can be, and almost always is, very challenging. But think, if you weren’t reaching for such great heights your success would not be so big, and you would not inspire people to the same magnitude. The bigger your dreams are, the bigger the dreams that you will inspire. I like to think of dream-catching as a selfless act. So many think that following their dreams means that they are being selfish, but I believe that it is the only way to inspire others to do the same.

The fact is that most people don’t get things handed to them, and if they do, it is usually after a lot of hard work has been put in…and that is a good thing! The effort is what makes the success that much sweeter. I know that I benefited dramatically from learning this way of thinking. Instead of assuming that the successful people round me are more fortunate, assume those same people are really hard workers. It is quite a motivating thought.

{ 8 } Comments

  1. Nicole | June 7, 2013 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Great article Brooke! It is always so easy to be envious of others and think about how unlucky you are. But really you are not seeing the whole story. The grass is always greener where you water it! Thanks for sharing this. I love reading your blog and keeping up with your work. Keep it up!

  2. Mary-Claire | June 7, 2013 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Touché. Goal setting can be frustrating, and working to that goal even harder. But when it’s achieved, it’s a success that others can’t imagine.

  3. Jen | June 7, 2013 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    So true and something to always remind ourselves of when we admire someone (whether from up close or afar). That kind of thinking probably also prevents us from succeeding because we assume wrongly about others and the nature/hard work of success.
    I love your dream-catcher analogy and will continue to consider that in my own course. Thanks for sharing such a well written and kind hearted perspective on a difficult topic!

  4. Kim | June 7, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    This was very inspiring Brooke. I’m one of those people that is often told how “lucky” I am. I have a beautiful home, relationship and a successful business. Sometimes I find myself over explaining how hard I’ve worked for the life I have when I get comments like “you are lucky”. How did you respond to the person at the gallery?

  5. ylva | June 7, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    i’ve been hesitating for a while, not sure exactly what to write. i do agree with you, but maybe it’s because i live in a different society than you (going between sweden and the caribbean), i just don’t see it that much. we struggle a lot more with nepotism, i think. gettings somewhere, being successful, here sometimes demands a lot more than both hard work, talent and luck (because i really believe they work together). you really should have the “right” parents and the “right” friends and the “right” connections and that, to me, is much more frusterating. sometimes i see very talented and hard working people not succeed to the same extent while other not so talented and actually not so hard working people succeed simply because of who they know and are related to. and i’m not talking about seeing this from a far and having the impression. i’ve seen how they work and their results. up close.

    that being said, you do wonderful things and i think it shines through everything you do that you are working really hard. i can’t believe some people write that off to luck.

  6. kobd2 | June 11, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    so beautiful

  7. gina miller | June 12, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    This is so true Brooke. Most people really don’t get things handed to them, they get to where they’re at because they’ve worked hard for it. I am truly thankful that I happened to stumble across you when I did and that I got to watch you on CL. I had my own a-ha moments and so many light bulbs went off for me at the right time that I needed it all to happen. I do believe things happen for a reason for the most part. I do my own hard work and have my own dreams on where I want to go with my photography and fine art and don’t expect anyone to just hand me things. I do feel very lucky to be able to do what it is I do in my life because things can be so crazy and because I am able to make the time for art, I am very grateful for what I have in my life right now. Thanks for the article!

  8. Kellie Wilson | June 13, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Something made me look at your blog today , and now I know why .these words touched my heart and I will carry them with me, I’m sure, for a long time. I photograph children in a competitive and over saturated market it’s so easy to look at others and feel a tinge of jealousy for the big earners ! however as usual you are correct focus that energy into your own business , be the best you can be and success will come . Thank you !

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