There are many reasons why one could be down on the prospects for the coming year. Listening to the news, one might think we’re about to all melt in nuclear fire, or that terrorists will soon be overtaking our schools and offices. Each day it seems as if yet another corporation is moving operations to another state, or to another country, and you worry about keeping your job. Perhaps your entire industry is on the verge of being automated, and you face redundancy. The list could go on and on.
There are also many reasons to be optimistic about the coming year. Cancer deaths in the US are down 25% over the past ten years, a single province in Pakistan planted over two billion trees in just two years, and the child poverty rate in the US is now at an all-time low. And hey, rumor has it that George R R Martin’s next volume, The Winds of Winter, may come out this year (for those lamenting the long gap before the next season of Game of Thrones).
In any year, there are good things and there are bad things that happen. It’s true that you cannot control everything that happens to you in life, in love, and in your career. But you can set yourself up for good things to happen by placing yourself in their path. If you don’t look, you’re not likely to find love. If you don’t apply for that job you want, you aren’t likely to get it. If you don’t take a chance on that startup idea you have, it won’t start up. You can do all these things, and things still may not go your way, but they are far more likely to work out if you set yourself up for success.
Dave finds himself in dire financial trouble. He prays earnestly to his God to help him out of his predicament. “God, I’m about to lose my car. Please help me. Let me win the lottery.” Lottery night comes, but sadly, Dave is not the winner.
Things go from bad to worse. Without a car to get to work, Dave loses his job. Without a job, his mortgage is foreclosed on, and he loses his home. Without a home, his wife leaves him, taking the kids. After each horrible step in the mounting crisis, he pleads with God to let him win the lottery, but he never does.
Finally, broke, hungry, living on the street, he tries again. “God, please, my life is a wreck. I have no car, no home, no family. Please let me win the lottery just this once so that I can turn my life around. I beseech you.”
Suddenly, a flash of light rends the sky, and the voice of God echoes down from the heavens. “For God’s sake, man, meet me halfway! Buy a ticket!“
If you plant flowers, you can much more optimistically expect to see flowers in 2018.
(image credit: Jose Maria Nieto, originally published in Spanish for New Years Day 2017)