Two of the surest ways of getting what you want in life

Make a way_Find a way
What we see depends mainly on what we look for. (John Lubbock)

The horror written all over her face made me wonder—deeply wonder—how bad the situation was.  “Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and failed to recognize the person who is gazing at you?” Penny said, with eyes popped so wide that I could see my reflection on her iris, as she narrated how she had overcome plunging into emptiness and darkness.  “That day I knew for certain that I only had two options, to find a way—or to make a way.  I didn’t have a third option.”

Seven years ago Penny was homeless.  I didn’t know that.  The last time I saw her was ten or fifteen years ago, when she was relocating to one of the coastal towns, to start a new job.    Suddenly, our conversation was interrupted by the MC when he announced the arrival of the bridal party at the wedding reception.  As people cheered and clapped to welcome the bridal party, I gazed at Penny in amazement, thinking how lovely she looked, but more so, her words kept ringing inside my head, over-and-over ‘I had to find a way—or to make a way’.  The louder people’s cheering and clapping got, the louder the echo of the words increased inside my head.

Throughout the wedding reception, the more Penny spoke about her determination, focus, effort, and attitude to change her life, the more I was fully convinced that indeed, it is possible to get what you want in life—health, career, finances, relationships, or recreation, by choosing to either find a way, or make a way.  From our discussion, we came to the conclusion that the two statements differ, and can be applied depending with the situation, as follows:

  • Make a way (also known as do it yourself). The first step for taking this option is to have a positive attitude that says ‘I am responsible for my actions, and the person I am today is as a result of what am doing—or not doing’.  So, if you want to see different results, you have to start doing things differently.  The second step is to decide what needs to change in your life.  The third step is to set goals to get you to the next level.  The fourth step is to take action and stay focused on attaining your goals, one goal at a time.  After losing her job, Penny ended up broke and homeless.  She knew she needed to find another job, but none was forthcoming.  After some time, she realized she had to find any kind of job, and ended up working at the main market as a sweeper.  Yes, she had a degree, and yes, she had pride, but she needed to survive and earn money to buy food and pay rent for a single room-house.  After working for some time as a cleaner at the market, Penny put together her savings and bought her first stock of vegetables to sell at the market as a vendor.  Soon the business was doing well, and she saved enough money to open a small restaurant.  Years later, she opened a second restaurant, and when we met at the wedding, she had plans of opening another restaurant within the next two years.
  • Find a way (also known as seeking for help from professionals, or people in your network). The reasons for seeking professional advice are numerous, and taking this option is straight forward.  You have a need to get better at doing something that will improve your life, and you pay for the services.  Maybe you want to sharpen your professional skills, or to get into good health, or to venture into a new career or business venture, it could be anything—so long as you know that you do not have the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed.  On the other hand, when seeking help from people in your network, the first thing to do is to evaluate your relationship with others.  Next you need to ensure that you are making a reasonable request, and this is done by finding one reason—and only one—to convince the person you are asking for help, to buy into your idea.  One reason is more convincing that several reasons.  So here is the catch, if you yourself cannot come up with one solid convincing reason, then obviously your request is unreasonable.   At this point you may want to consider taking the option of ‘make a way’.  And why not?