Fortune Cookie

My fortune cookie at the Southern Breeze SCBWI conference read: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. Thomas Edison”

I’ve been thinking of just a few examples of great opportunities and the overalls they represent.

College Graduation
•    Boring lectures
•    Cheerfully waiting tables for grumpy people, hoping to increase tips to pay the tuition
•    Deadlines for papers
•    Late night studying

Book Award
•    Endless rewrites
•    Multiple rejection letters
•    Hours and hours with only the company of a chair, pen or pencil, paper, and computer
•    All of the above – without any assurance the book will get published, much less win an award

•    Tedious runs of scales
•    Hours and hours of practice
•    Repetitive work on trouble spots
•    Skipping fun with friends to practice and take lessons
•    Nerves before performances
•    Embarrassing lapses of memory at recitals

Military Service
•    Basic training accompanied by gnats in Southern heat
•    Following orders that may or may not seem logical
•    Living with danger
•    Separations from family
•    Living wherever Uncle Sam assigns
•    Knowing not to put roots too deeply in any one place

•    Daily workouts through heat and cold
•    Single-minded attention to one’s sport
•    Following rules for diet, exercise, and sleep
•    Losing, but coming back to play again

•    Years of unending training
•    Grading mountains of papers
•    Lesson plans, following whatever system is current this year
•    Keeping a steady course as theoretical pendulums swing back and forth
•    Caring for the group, but also for each student as an individual

The beginning of a new year seems like a good time to take note of Edison’s quote. Done well, each of these and many more goals follow hard work with satisfaction and fulfillment. In 2015, I hope you’ll join me in donning our overalls to make the most of our opportunities.