“Opportunity looks a lot like hard work”

multiple paths

Several years ago my now ex-husband and I took a Financial Peace course at our church. The program is based on the financial advise and teachings of Dave Ramsey. Like any good diet plan, it works if you do it, but you have to stick with it. The one saying I remember above all others is, “Live like no one else, so that later you can live like no one else.”

The concept is pretty simple, in that you are to set a goal, and then work your tail off to reach it. Dave Ramsey tells stories of people working second jobs delivering pizzas in order to become debt free, including paying off their homes and vehicles, thus allowing them to live a vastly different lifestyle, “like no one else.”

According to the stories and testimonials, the time in between setting that goal and achieving it completely sucked for the people. Long hours, little rest, time spent pushing towards a goal that others do not see or understand.

The program did not work for us, simply because we did not stick with it. We chose the immediate comfort of not taking extra jobs, not depriving ourselves in the moment.

This is a theme that continues to surround me lately. People who we see as having “made it” are not special. They do not have a magic wand. There is no special club that they belong to that everyone else is excluded from.

They “make it” because they work their tails off, and then when they are tired and cannot imagine going another step, they regroup and push on.

In a now famous speech given by Ashton Kutcher at the Teen Choice Awards in 2013, he stated: “Opportunity looks a lot like hard work.”

Maybe it is because of his Iowa roots, but that sentence, that sentiment, resonates with me on a deep level.

In my mind, I have set some goals for what I want my life to look like, for where I want to be, what type of life I want to live.

I am not certain which path laid in front of me will get me to where I want to be. There are several choices, and daily I am weighing them out.

What I do know to be true is that no one is going to hand me the life that I want. At the same time, there is no one telling me that I cannot go out and build it for myself.

Most of us feel that we are “stuck” in whatever situation we find ourselves in. Pushing back against it, stepping out, daring to look for something MORE is hard, it is scary.

It is much easier to accept our situation, make the best of it, or even spend our time and energy lamenting about how unfair it is.

Just like with the financial lessons, if we want to change our situation, it is up to us, and only us. No one else can do it for us.

There are about five different “What If?” paths laid out in front of me right now. At this time it is not clear which one I will pursue, or if I will pursue more than one of them. What I do know is that I will not sit back and watch them pass by.

There is risk in the unknown. There is hard work, loss of sleep, possibly loss of friends who do not understand.

There is also risk in staying stagnant and letting the life I want pass by and go to someone who is willing to put in the work.

Stay the course, choose the life you want and go out and build it.

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