Recently I came across a quote by Aldous Huxley: “Experience is not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you.” This struck me as being true.
Long ago I had a job I loved. When the manager called me to his office to tell me they were letting me go, I was devastated. It turned out they had hired someone who was unable to begin work for three months so, without telling me it was a temporary job, hired me. The manager was apologetic, assuring me I’d done an outstanding job, but I was devastated. Weeping, I called a good friend.
“Great,” he said. “I just inherited a bunch of money. Let’s go to Europe.” And we did! For six months.
When I returned I found a terrific job with an attorney and eventually worked myself up from litigation secretary to probate paralegal, and had a wonderful career.
When the law firm began falling apart, a friend said, “Why don’t you sell real estate? Your law firm is going under and you’ll be great at it.” Instead of waiting for the firm to disintegrate, which took two years, I took the real estate exam and began a career that was more successful than I ever dreamed. The year was 1998, real estate was booming and I made more money than I anticipated.
When I tell people about my life, I say, “I got a Ph.D. in finance selling real estate in Los Angeles in the late 1990s.”
Life offers many opportunities. Fear keeps people from taking risk. If I’d stayed with the law firm, I would have scrambled around to procure another position probably for less money. By taking the plunge to real estate, I made three times the amount of money I’d been making, set my own hours, and loved my new occupation.
Perhaps my lack of patience contributes to making decisions involving taking a gamble. After I wrote my first novel, “Kiss My Tattoo,” I couldn’t get an agent. The rejection letters hurt to the core. When one of my co-workers suggested we publish it ourselves, I didn’t think twice. Her husband owned a printing company so we Xeroxed it, bound it and sold hundreds of copies. That was the beginning of my writing career.
Take a chance in life. Have faith in yourself. Some of the decisions I’ve made didn’t make sense and I had to backtrack. But one path led me to another and in the long run everything turned out well.
If someone says, “Hey, let’s take a hot air balloon ride,” even if you’re a bit nervous, do it. If you hear about a job somewhere you’ve always wanted to live, bite the bullet and go. If you’re not thrilled with your life, make a change. We think we will live forever, but we won’t. Now is the time to just do it!