The news about my boss Andy giving his two-week notice spread like wild fire in the department. Everyone who reported to him was apprehensive about who and what the next guy would be like. Will the new guy be better or worse than Andy? Everybody was concerned about how this change would affect them, including other managers that worked with Andy. Two weeks after Andy was gone, as I was working on the production floor, one of the technicians came up to me and said, “So I heard you have a new boss now.”
“Do I?” I inspected some plastic parts coming off a molding machine and replied softly.
“You didn’t get the news yet? You and I will both be working for Shaun now,” he said as he scrunched up his face in discontent.
“Is it that bad?” I inquired.
“I don’t know how much you’ve worked with him, but he doesn’t deserve to be a manager,” he added, “The stars were lined up just right for him and the timing of it was right. That’s the only reason why he became our boss.”
While speaking to an event at Trinity University in Dublin, Ireland, I posed a question to my young audience. I asked if every single thing that they had in their life till date was because of their own action. Some agreed, while most nodded their head with disapproval. Upon continuing my discussion, some of the audience described that they’re fortunate to have somethings in their life that they just got and never had to work for it. When I inquired what they thought gave them those things that they’re so appreciative of, they used the words luck, destiny, and opportunity.
I want to share what I think about luck, destiny, or opportunity using the personal experience I shared in the beginning with you about my boss Andy and his departure. Andy made a conscious decision to quit and move somewhere else. So Andy created what he wanted through his action. However, Andy’s action also resulted in creating a vacant spot in the department. It’ll be foolish to say that Shawn intended that.
Did Shawn get the position because of his own action?
One may argue that just like Andy, Shawn made a conscious decision of taking the position, so he created what he wanted through his action. Yes. But one intricate component of this scenario is that the decision made by one person (Andy) impacted what the other person (Shawn) got. That is what we call is destiny, luck, or opportunity.
Every one of us experiences this phenomenon in our personal relationship or professional career at some point of time in our life. Think of experiences in your life or someone you know. That relationship that you so deeply desired with someone, but it never worked out (or when it did workout flawlessly). The job or promotion in your career that you so yearned for and worked hard for, never came to fruition (or when it turned out exactly the way you intended it to). Undeniably, there is some lack of control that we all experience with people and events in every scenario of our life. But it is this same lack of control that plays a significant role in the decisions we make (or don’t) which ultimately dictates what we get (or don’t) in all domains of our life. This unknown or “out-of-our-control” aspect of our life is destiny, luck, or opportunity. However there is key component that keeps our destiny, luck or opportunity alive. Only when we act does our destiny, luck, or opportunity has a possibility to work as well. All beings (plants, animals, you and I) at every level of evolution follow this principle. If all the ingredients necessary for the growth of a seed are available to it, however, if it does not do what it must do to sprout, irrevocably, it stays in the same state it was in. Whatever you choose to call “it”: destiny, luck, or opportunity without your action, the fate of your luck, destiny, or opportunity is dead.