The biggest lie you will ever be told is that if you want something enough and work hard, you can achieve all of your dreams. You often hear this from the rich, the entrepreneurs or the creatives (actors, authors, artists and yes, bloggers). Well, I call bulls**t!
The thing that annoys me about this lie is not the smug look on people’s faces when they tell you achieved their success because “they worked hard”. Or even the implied criticism that if you haven’t achieved similar successes, you just didn’t work hard enough. No, the thing that gets my goat is the hope and promise it gives to every young person. Hope that will eventually be crushed when you realise you’re just not going to get there, leaving you feeling like an utter failure.
You hear this a lot from performers, actors and singers, usually when they are accepting some accolade or other. They’ll say something along the lines of “I’m proof that anyone with a dream can make it, if you just try hard and don’t give up.”
Now, that’s funny but I know lots of very talented people, who worked exceptionally hard but never got their big break. People who packed up their lives to move to the big city, attended class after class, lined up at auditions and sometimes even got shortlisted, sometimes to the final two. Sadly, though they never got their big break.
Unfortunately, sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just weren’t in the right place at the right time. You didn’t have the right colour hair, or have friends who happened to know the lighting tech guy in a big show. Does that mean you didn’t work as hard? Of course not. However, the performing industry does have the highest unemployment rate so statistically it can’t happen for everyone!
Another regular group of culprits are business-owners, usually pretty well off, maybe with a fancy house or a swish car. “I worked incredibly hard to get where I am”, they say “Anybody could do the same”. A lot of these people also have connections already in the business world. Or a spouse to be the main breadwinner while they take a gamble. Or no major responsibilities that will suffer if they fail.
Finally you have bloggers. There’s always one, usually sat on a yacht or in their ultra-white house with its rose gold accessories. “We make our own opportunities by working really hard. You’re just jealous.” Ok, I’m not trying to suggest that anybody isn’t working very hard. The thing is, I read A LOT of blogs and there are hundreds, nay thousands of bloggers who work equally hard, take beautiful photos and spend hours planning great content but I don’t see them getting treated to an all-expenses paid to NYC.
Sometimes you were just fortunate. Sometimes you got there first. Sometimes you had friends in the right places. Sometimes you wrote that one post that happened to go viral. It doesn’t make you better or more hardworking than anyone else. It makes you one of the lucky ones.
I am more than willing to accept that all of these “types” probably do work incredibly hard. Still, I do find it REALLY frustrating when they won’t admit a certain amount of luck was involved. Call it fate, serendipity, whatever you like but for whatever reason, the dice fell in your favour and you get to be a success story. Not all of us can say the same.
I once saw this quote on Jason Manford’s Facebook page:
“People always seem to admire those folks who ‘followed their dream’. Those people who became singers, footballers or surgeons & astronauts. But I prefer to praise those people who gave up on their dreams and just crack on with rubbish jobs that they hate. They’re the real heroes.”
This basically sums up how I feel about life. Obviously if I had the choice I’d be off pursuing my career in musical theatre, starting my wedding planner business or heck, being a full-time blogger. Instead, I have a bog-standard, 9-5 office job in a school, which I sometimes find fulfilling but more often than not is monotonous. Is the my “dream job”? Far from it. Does it pay the bills? Absolutely.
I am, in fact, incredibly good at my job and I work very hard to be as good as I can be. I regularly work overtime and go above and beyond the call of duty to try and do my best. Unfortunately, I also work in an environment where my particular talents are not widely-valued or well-paid. That’s just how it is.
It’s a fact of life that sometimes you have to do what you have to do, rather than what you want to do. I go to work to earning a living, to pay my bills and support my family. I don’t have the luxury of doing what I love, instead I do what it takes. For some people, that’s just the way life is.
So, if you are one of those blessed people who are living the dream, give yourself a pat on the back for all of your hard work. Then thank your lucky stars for everything falling into place.