Notes on being lucky

September 29, 2015 in Career,Life,Philosophy,Travel

“On social media, we all want to be seen as ducks, a term researchers at Stanford University came up with to convey how, like the animal, young women want to be seen as gliding serenely along, but in fact under the surface are paddling ferociously.” –The #LuckyGirl Hashtag Makes Effort a Social-Media Taboo, The Atlantic

Effortless perfection. By itself, it almost seems like an oxymoron. How can one achieve a perfect state without trying? And whenever we put effort into something, aren’t we working toward a state of (often unachievable) perfection? It’s really and truly impossible, and yet, it’s something that many of us strive for: especially as a woman, and a millennial, and someone in a space that judges fiercely on appearance. (See: notes on personal brands.)

Confession: I like being seen as a duck. A boss once complimented me on my “calm confidence,” and that has been my apex of compliments ever since. And because many things in my life are working out quite well, I’m tempted to write it off as luck: I’m lucky that I met a man I love, and I’m lucky to be moving into a beautiful new apartment, and I’m lucky to have a job that pays me well and gives me health insurance, and I’m lucky to have a blog that creates opportunities for me to do things that I love. I’m the luckiest girl in the world!

I offer up luck as the first reason, the easiest way to assume that state of effortless perfection. I didn’t do anything to deserve this! It just happened because the stars aligned and I happened to be in the right place at the right time! I’m just like you! But to some extent–especially after reading that article in The Atlantic and perhaps thinking a little deeper about my own actions–I wonder if that’s a disservice.

Because I actually decided to get serious about meeting someone and joined OKCupid and spent an evening answering all of those algorithm questions about who you are and what you’re looking for–and then I spotted someone who was a 99% match, and so I messaged him. Aka: this was not a meet-cute.

Because after spending hours upon stressful hours on Streeteasy, and setting up a dozen walk-throughs criss-crossed over Brooklyn in a day, and dashing to the bank in the middle of the day to get a cashier’s check to secure our application, and three teeth-grinding days of waiting: we got the apartment.

Because I wake up early every morning to come into an office to answer (so, so, so many) emails, schedule conference calls, organize projects, draft legal paperwork, and deal with things gone right and things gone awry: I get a paycheck every other week.

And because I have kept with this blog for more than five years. I wrote when no one was reading, and I traveled when no one else was paying for it.

In today’s day and age, it’s easy to lean on luck and to filter a photo of effortless perfection. But it also feels darn good to own your accomplishments: to take credit for all of the “lucky” things that happen to you, and to truly believe that it wasn’t just the stars aligning but it was your hard work that made that magic.

p.s. notes on authenticity and comparison is the thief of joy.

 

  • Caroline Leach

    I loved this post! Thank you for owning your achievements and helping me remember that amazing things don’t happen without effort!

  • Marie

    I love this! I think women in general are too quick to write off our accomplishments as luck. It’s a constant challenge and a struggle against “impostor syndrome” to remind myself that while luck and privilege certainly played a role- I’ve worked damn hard for what I have. Thanks for this post!

  • This is super interesting! When I first read the title, I thought it was going to be the opposite: About how people really make their own “luck.” I’ve never thought about this before, but I guess I DON’T want to be seen as a duck. Just the other day, someone told me I was really “lucky” because my husband and I don’t have student loans, and I was honestly pretty offended. I (politely, I hope) informed her that I didn’t really think “luck” had anything to do with it – we both worked really hard to earn scholarships that covered our tuition, chose the best-value schools we got into, and worked all through college to have extra spending money and save up for after graduation. It’s not like we won the lottery. For someone to write our accomplishments off as “luck” hurt my heart a little. But I totally understand the duck thing, too; now I’m going to be looking at other aspects of my life to see if I’m being a “duck.” 😉 Great post, as always!

  • Amazing post! It’s funny because I feel so lucky in life but I never want people to think the good things I have came to me because of luck. I work hard and usually assume everyone else is working just as hard too. That’s probably why good things come to those who hustle is my favorite motto!

    Her Heartland Soul
    http://herheartlandsoul.com

  • This is wonderful, Christine! I’ve actually concluded that the “you’re so lucky” comment from others is mildly insulting because it dilutes the tireless effort one has put into making shit happen for oneself; not to mention it completely ignores the occasional stress, worry, and self doubt! It’s scary to be “lucky” sometimes. Cheers to you for taking it on with such grace. You are a duck 🙂

  • This is so well written. The duck analogy is such an interesting one because I think so many women feel the pressure to come across as having put in just the right amount of effort. To reveal that we put a great deal of effort into something makes us vulnerable because it exposes the fact that we actually care about the results of our efforts and I think we as women try so hard to work against the stereotype that women are always the ones that care too much (clingy/needy girlfriend, etc.). Writing something off as luck kind of gives us protection against that vulnerability. However, there is also a backlash against those who make things look too effortless because they are accused of presenting a glossy fake version of life, so we also often feel the need to be self-deprecating and expose our flaws in just the right way to be relatable. Such a balancing act!

  • Love this! I am constantly (gently) correcting people when they tell me I’m “lucky” — because it’s not usually luck they’re complimenting, it’s my decisions and my priorities, like the fact that I spend money on traveling instead of other indulgences. Even when something seems truly “lucky,” like winning the lottery, you have to remember that even that first required the decision to buy a lottery ticket. Pretty much all “luck” is determined by our choices!

  • Ha! I pretty much wrote this same thing in much more words down below. I totally agree with you! I wish I could be MORE of a “duck” sometimes. 🙂

  • Erin

    Thank you for writing this!! I commented on a post of yours a while ago asking your secret to success and now realize that’s silly to ask but this seems like a good answer. May your hard work continue to pay off in spades!

  • camorose

    Thanks, Caroline! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post 🙂

  • camorose

    Yes, so true. As I wrote this, I thought so much about The Confidence Code and what I wrote/thought about as I was reading that book. Confidence is such a key part of remember that YOU accomplished something, not just external factors.

  • camorose

    Mmmm I totally feel you. I don’t have student loans either–because I got a scholarship and chose to go to a state school! And I feel like people do write that off–and so many other things–as luck, and it’s like, no, I just made a good decision! I think when I say that I like being seen as a duck, it’s more than I like appearing to have it all together (because who doesn’t?) but I also want to make sure that people remember that I am paddling ferociously underneath!

  • camorose

    Love that motto! One of my fave (related) quotes is the harder you work, the luckier you get 🙂

  • camorose

    VERY GOOD POINTS. Thanks for sharing, lady!

  • camorose

    Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment, Katie! 100% agree about the balancing act and I feel like there is no one right way for any person or situation. Can be tough to judge!

  • camorose

    Yes! Totally agree!

  • camorose

    Haha yes! I feel like it’s not much of a secret–just a lot of hard work!

  • Yes! Good for you. You have worked hard and you deserve all that “luck”
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  • jennaebert

    Hell ya girl!! you earned it through hard work!!!

  • I love that duck analogy. I think I strive to be a duck but most times I feel like a chicken running in circles. 😛

  • Crystal Richard

    I needed this tonight! Thank you <3

  • Michelle Harvey

    So much yes! From the outside, we can easily sit here and say how lucky you are to be where you are, doing what you’re doing. Because we don’t know what it took. You have worked hard to be where you are today, and you’re such an inspiration – working a full-time job, dedicating so much time to your blog, and making sure you still have a social life too. It takes work, determination and passion – which you have in spades!

  • I love this! Particularly because, as women, we are often told not to let the hard work show and to make it all seem like it was nothing. I am guilty of this and have occasionally found myself saying, “and it just all worked out,” as if I had very little to do with the outcome of a situation. The reality is that, more often than not, a ton of hard work went into it.

    There’s the saying, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” and I agree with this. Opportunity is key. Some people just don’t have that opportunity because of certain circumstances in their lives and I feel it’s important to acknowledge that, but just as important is the preparation and hard work that goes into it.

    So, I say congrats to you on hard work paying off, and good for you for owning it!

  • Riana Autumn

    I have been reading your blog for a few years now and think your writing is beautiful and so admire how you live your life. As an outside reader, it’s easy to sit back and admire the “lucky” life you live. Thank you for breaking that silly ideal and doing it in such a pleasant and beautifully crafted way.

  • I loved reading this, Christine. From one duck to another, thank you for your honesty.

  • I think these “notes” blog posts are my favorite. I don’t usually comment on them but I always appreciate them!

  • THANK YOU for writing this. I had a similar post in draft but I hadn’t had the guts to finish it yet. I have seen how your hard work has built a life that is enviable and at times, I have been guilty of envying it, if I am brutally honest. BUT, every time that’s happened I have reminded myself that I know you. And I know how hard you work. And good things come to those who hustle. Luck is just a term we’re comfortable with, but it’s not accurate.

    Kudos to you!! You’re an inspiration, Christine.

  • camorose

    Thanks, Laura!

  • camorose

    Thanks lady!!!

  • camorose

    haha! Love that analogy!

  • camorose

    Glad you enjoyed it, Crystal!

  • camorose

    Thanks, Michelle! This was such a sweet, heartfelt comment–I really appreciate it.

  • camorose

    So so true. That’s a really good point about not wanting the hard work to show as women–definitely think we do ourselves a disservice to both ourselves and other women by not acknowledging the hard work that goes into it.

  • camorose

    Thanks, Riana! Really appreciate this comment.

  • camorose

    Glad you can relate, Rebecca!

  • camorose

    Thanks, Katrinka! I’m so glad you do.

  • camorose

    Right back at you, lady–on all accounts. Here’s to the hustle!

  • Here’s to the hustle indeed! Toying with the idea of having that word be my next tattoo. It’s become clear to me that hustle is the one thing most imperative to making it as an entrepreneur these days 😉

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