Last week I went to dinner with my wife and daughters to celebrate excellent report cards and we visited a new Chinese restaurant for the first time. I know it is a bit cheesy, but I always look forward to getting the fortune cookie to see what quippy or unique one-sentence motivator has been crafted by someone I’ve never met who may live half a world away or within the US.
Now you have to understand that I’ve had very good experiences with fortune cookie one-liners. One told me I’d see the world. Months later I unfolded the fortune from my wallet in a hotel room in Asia as part of an eight-country tour.
I had another that said something about finances increasing. Again I put it into my wallet and within a year I discovered it again after receiving a sizable bonus and stock sale.
So I was a bit disappointed at first when I opened my cookie to find it empty last week! No fortune? Or was it something else, a great opportunity? In many board games, a blank card usually gives you the poetic license to decide what the card will mean.
I am a firm believer that “luck” is simply the cross section of opportunity and preparation, so I take this moment as my opening to choose my own adventure and write my own fortune. As January is almost to its conclusion, I also see it as an opportunity to review my 2012 goals and I’ve decided – as William Shakespeare penned in Hamlet and his infamous quote “to be or not to be …” – that a great fortune is to choose to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune rather than sink into the despair of an easier road.
What is your passion in life to achieve? Wealth alone does not bring with it happiness. To be happy we must have something to measure against. The perception of happiness is only equal to our understanding of suffering and turmoil. We must not need to do all the suffering alone, but to reach out to those around us, lift them up to a higher place and in understanding their pain, we can better appreciate and lend credence to our joy.
I am struck by Shakespeare’s words – “outrageous fortune.” What kind of fortune is “outrageous?” Having been to Mumbai, India, and having stood just inches from the North Korean border, “outrageous fortune” is what I am experiencing this morning. I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, and I’m quite assured I will not be beaten or jailed for having an opinion and expressing it today. I live in a mansion compared to a dirt floor with a weather beaten tarp over head. I enjoyed a hot shower this morning and I own a car. I have five healthy children who excel in music, dance and school. To over 90% of the world, I am doing very well.
Yet how many people have all of the above and consider themselves poor, oppressed, depressed, and unhappy?
For me, outrageous fortune is the ability to bless and help others. To have a cup which is overflowing and spills out to those around me.
What is your “outrageous fortune?” What fortune would you write for yourself – and most importantly, what fortune are you writing for yourself today by the actions you take?