Let’s keep this simple. I got lucky. I won my iPad. I didn’t have to compete against anyone. This isn’t the result of a meritocracy. As far as I know it isn’t the result of networking or nepotism. I filled out a form and the folks at the South Whidbey Record pulled it out of some bin. Thank you.
There are more than enough quotes about making your own luck. “God helps those who help themselves.” Interestingly enough is not a bible quote, nor from Benjamin Franklin (if I can believe wikipedia.) The quote goes back to the Greeks, in which case it was probably in the plural, “Gods . . . ” I’ve been working hard and me as the writer and you as the reader are all watching to see if I encounter good luck. Lately it has been showing up. Thanks again.
There’s another quote that I doubt is in the databases, unless they’ve been wise enough to quote one of my friends. I’ll paraphrase. She pointed out that the odds of winning the lottery are very small. Deciding not to play drops those odds to zero. Buying one ticket raises the chances from zero to very small, which is an infinite improvement. Buying two tickets only improves the odds to twice a very small number, which is still a very small number. Okay, so we were having a math geek moment; but, I got her point. Being pessimistic and deciding to do nothing means nothing is likely to happen. At least trying, doing enough to clear that first hurdle is infinitely better than dismissing the opportunity. Doing twice as much does improve things, but not as much as you might think.
I entered the drawing. I suspect many didn’t because they thought they couldn’t win. This wasn’t like the lottery though. I couldn’t enter twice. Could I?
The odds of winning any such lottery are a large function of the number of entries. I live in a small town. The odds of winning something from The Seattle Times would be worse, though I suspect they’d award more than one iPad.
I play the lottery for at least two reasons. One – For a dollar my daydreams can entertain me for more than the time it takes to watch a movie. Two – Despite the low odds, eventually someone wins; and it might as well be me. But, I typically only buy one dollar’s worth per drawing. (By the way, did you know that you can buy ten drawings in advance in Washington’s Lottery? Ten dollars covers about three weeks of drawings. Handy.) And of course, I play the lottery because I could use the money.
Applying for jobs doesn’t follow exactly the same logic. Making that phone call, sending that email, or submitting that application is a good idea that doesn’t cost much that can have great benefits. Sometimes people get jobs without applying. Most of the time, the process isn’t random. Often enough the winner is selected before anyone has a chance to enter the contest.
Yet in life, showing up, taking that first step, making that tangible effort is more than enough because so many talk themselves out of opportunities. I wonder how many times I’ve done that to myself.
An aspect of living in a small town, or at least an intentional community, is that opportunities and needs are more apparent. The news becomes that much more important. The South Whidbey Record is only a couple of dozen pages, but I rarely read more than that many when I had a subscription to The Seattle Times. The Record’s pages are easier to peruse, and small things are less likely to get lost. News items too small for a big paper can hit the front page, which might mean someone gets the help they need. Small items within the pages aren’t lost in a multitude, which means I can see things like an ad for winning an iPad. A small town newspaper can seem like a small thing, but it greatly improves the possibility that big things can happen.
The Record has imperfections, but most things do. I know I have a few. I’ve even found a few in the iPad, though that may simply be the results of a “defective end-user.” (And probably the subject of another post.) If we waited for perfections before getting on with life, we wouldn’t live.
In the meantime, I’m learning how to use my iPad, I have my lottery ticket – and I also noticed over on drewslist a $25 raffle to win a new car. (It was probably in the Record too, but drewslist is fresh in my mind because I just checked my email.) My car is a 2000 Jeep Cherokee Classic, which I like but it has over 150,000 miles. The raffle car is a Fiat 500. Hmm, it’s been a while since I’ve had two cars. If I had a new car that got over 30mpg it would be a lot easier to drive 750 miles to visit my dad. Hmm, maybe . . . I wonder what my chances are of winning. Hmm . . .