I believe in opportunity. Opportunity is the essence of belief. There is no way science can truly validate the randomness of opportunity. Yet I believe in it. I believe that if I follow the course of the river, I will end up where I want to go because an opportunity will present itself at the end.
Countless times, I’ve pushed myself to the limit, and events have seen me through the last bit. As a broke college student, I often wondered how I would pay my bills, but a break always came my way. After careful budgeting, I would always get extra hours at work, an unexpected gift from a friend, or simply find money on the ground. My biggest find was 36 dollars at the state park. I’ve won several drawings and raffles. My winnings include a vacuum cleaner, a Harry Potter collectible set, a series of gift cards, a year’s supply of Coca-Cola (which hardly lasts a year), and 100 music downloads.
My most recent win is a great example of how perseverance and luck pay off. I went to Denver for the Democratic Convention. The first day of the convention, the payment machine on the bus was broken, so I rode the bus for free. When I arrived downtown, I went to pick up a concert ticket I purchased a month before. The organization lost my ticket, so I got a refund, and a different ticket closer than I was with the old ticket. At the concert that night, someone bought the bar out, so I got free drinks. On the way home, the bus machine was still broken, so another free ride. That day’s total: $143. Having luck on your side to provide opportunity though, is priceless. The next day, I did have to pay for the bus downtown, but I won something far more valuable. I had come to Denver for the presidential acceptance speech, and the friend I stayed with failed to get me one. However, I still felt confident I would get a ticket. I went to visit the South Carolina delegation (my home state), but read my map wrong. I thought the bus stop I got off on, would only require me to walk four blocks, but it turned out to be 82 (yes, I counted along the way). Many times I thought of turning back and going home, but something pulled me onward. I arrived at the hotel in time to hear an intern announce, “This is the last chance for anyone to enter the raffle for Obama speech tickets.” I entered the raffle, and an hour later won the ticket. I was also invited to the delegation reception that evening. That day a free ticket, more free bus rides, and free drinks, courtesy of the delegation. I had no idea what would happen even if I made it all 82 blocks, but I believe that hard work results in a good ending.
Samuel Goldwyn once said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” This is what I believe. I believe that if one works hard, luck will sort out the rest with unseen opportunity. Hard work is always rewarded in life. And in life, I believe in opportunity.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.