Oprah Was Wrong. I Said, What I Said

I never understood when people would say to me, “Carmen, you’re so adventurous. I could never have done…[this or that].”  It was said to me more often when I was a young adult, but I always pushed back on it secretly knowing that out of desperation, of course, anyone would take a leap of faith if that was the only choice you had.

But today, as I write this, I’m starting to understand something different about human nature.  A lot of people wouldn’t take the leap. Not because they feared it, but because they couldn’t even see it. 

In the past month, I’ve watched people, with opportunity at their fingertips, blow it because they couldn’t see easily what was right in front of them.  It doesn’t matter what anyone told them, they couldn’t grasp the opportunity because they were oblivious to the moment! 

I have never been this shocked by watching people fail and fail miserably because they can’t see the opened door. And even, if by some fluke, they do see the door, they can’t seem to push it open.  It’s both incredible and deeply troubling to watch.

What am I talking about exactly? 

In the past, Oprah would say, “I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” A similar saying, attributed to the Roman philosopher Seneca is, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”  I’ve hated both of those lines the day I heard them. I remember screaming back at the TV when I first heard Oprah say it. I knew she was wrong, but I didn’t know how to express it correctly.

“Opportunity itself IS the luck I’d always say.” 

But today I understand more fully why Oprah and Seneca were wrong. Because the luck we all so desperately want to see in our lives is simply the act of being able to see opportunity!  If you can’t SEE the opportunity, it doesn’t matter how prepared you are. And sometimes opportunity shows up and you’re not prepared at all but you leap anyway and it works out. LUCK is not magical. Luck is not selective.  Luck is seeing what is in front of you as it is and creating that opportunity anyway, or seeing opportunity presented purely and leaping into it! Courage is the absence of fear when you see opportunity. But that’s a different blog post for sure…

In the first instance, luck is seeing easily that you are a musician so you take guitar lessons, force yourself to write a song, meet up with other musicians and play a gig. Luck is SEEING who you are, and making choices to fit that template that is YOU.

In the second circumstance, we might say, “right place, right time“. You’re at a wedding, the band gets stuck in traffic, you take your guitar out of your car and start playing and there just happens to be an music producer/agent at the wedding who wants to sign you after hearing you play a version of a cover. 

And, I love this part:

You can learn to SEE opportunities. And the better you get at it, the easier it is to seize the moment.

This past week, I watched two people cave in the face of possibility. And, the interesting part is, neither of them realized they did this to themselves. They have no clue. I watched it from a distance because I was part of their world, and did I try to give them a perspective to see it? Yes!  But, as we all know, there are times in life when no matter what people tell you, and no matter how many people tell you, you just can’t hear it because you’re not ready.  I watched these two separate individuals, in totally different circumstances, fizzle out their moment, their opportunity. Bummed me out. But they just weren’t able to see beyond themselves and see something bigger! 

Now, I’ll be honest, I don’t know how many times we get to opportunity to see opportunity. But I do know that practicing these things, have led me to “luck” – opportunities – that I’ve then chosen to leap and make a go of it! 

  • No matter the circumstance you are in, always try and see the bright side. The light. The positive. When you practice this regularly and authentically, you will start to see opportunities that you didn’t see before. Because for whatever reason the soul/heart/brain loves possibility and positivity. And we can work from that place easier to move on through than from a place of burden, sadness and desperation. 
  • Practice a sense of humility.  If you constantly have to tell people how great you are, then it is most likely the opposite. When you live in a place of humility, you realize that your work will speak for itself and that others will champion your brilliance.  If you are so self-absorbed that you need to continuously express how great you are, people will turn off and most will never believe you.
  • Nothing comes from just thinking about opportunity, aka luck. But something will always come from doing. It’s “in the doing.” Even failure from doing is something to learn and grow from. The problem is never in falling over and over again and failing from trying to make it…the sadness – the true failure will be if you never try at all. That is a true definition of failure.   

I love how this universe works and even though I’m quite aware that I don’t know Jack about how it actually functions, I do know that when it comes to some things, for me it’s been pretty clear. I believe we all get shots at all of it all the time…luck/opportunity are not just for the privileged few… the only logical answer is that some of us, just can’t see it!

Stay beautiful.


11 thoughts on “Oprah Was Wrong. I Said, What I Said

  1. Interesting observations, Carmen.

    There is a yoga master/guru who teaches that we – that is, our bodies and minds – are comprised of history: you have your great-grandmother’s eyes, your distant relation’s chin, etc. If your ancestors had a predilection towards certain diseases, that history sometimes get carried down through the generations.

    Similarly, he says, if you’ve struggled in a previous incarnation with particular problems – propensity to anger, issues with almost anything – the universe brings you back to work off that stuff. (He says you don’t need to keep coming back to deal with that stuff if you do certain yogic practices. And full disclosure: that’s what I’m doing at the moment – but that’s a different topic for another time)

    He suggests that people who go through life oblivious to what you and I can clearly see might have to come back again until they finally open their eyes and get past their histories. I have NO idea whether any of this is true or not. But if it is, it might explain a few things.

    I see these people all the time, both in personal life and in their public personas. The guy who keeps lying to others about how great he is, never realizing that he’s actually painting himself to the world as a fool, for example. The person who just can’t get out of their own head in a job interview or audition. It’s disheartening and sad. I also know that in a lot of cases, you can’t really do anything about it, as much as you feel their pain. They have to go through what they’re going through, (whether reincarnation is a thing or just foolishness) and there’s just not a damned thing we can do about it.

    On a positive note though, I think more and more people are awakening to the possibilities you mentioned, where they can have success and “luck” in their lives. I think there’s a lot of darkness out there still though, as well, with people whose eyes are firmly shut. I’ve been learning not to fight with them, beyond just a gentle suggestion here and there.

    As the darkness swirls in our world, it’s important for us to hold our light up. Not fight, not cajole or try to convince. Just shine, just as you are doing with your posts.

    Carmen, I honestly don’t know if any of the above makes any sense. Not fishing for validation; I just truly don’t know.

    Anyway, thanks for writing such an interesting and provocative post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Wolfie, wow, thank you for this. Yes, this was clear and makes complete sense! I appreciate you taking the time and I agree wholeheartedly! I needed a moment to sit and read it on my computer with my cup of coffee and not just try and read it on my phone. I am always happy to hear what you have to say — especially knowing that we’re on the same page! Thank you again. Yes, keep on shining! 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Really enjoyed this post. Opportunity is the luck!!! If we can’t see and embrace the oportunity/ luck then it is useless. Then again sometimes we have to create our own luck/opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I could not help but think of the Monty Python movie where the group members are individually hanging from a cross and singing: “Always look on the bright side of life.”
    The second suggestion about being humble reminded me of a quote from the 14th Dalai Lama about humility and that is to see yourself as lower than another when meeting with them so that you will never feel bigger or better than them.
    The third one is my favorite. “It’s in the doing.” I totally agree and try to apply this every day.
    I guess I am just a happy-go-lucky kind of guy.
    Thanks for helping to make my day a little cleaer!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow! This is great. You are absolutely right, Monty Python, Dalai Lama… I didn’t even think of those two. But yes! I think being a positive person is the way to go — it’s a great place to start each day from “happy-go-lucky” – I love that! Thank you for helping validate my ideas with back-up. I appreciate you! 💕

      Liked by 2 people


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