Life is a source of many mysteries, perhaps none more puzzling than why some people make it to the top of their professions while others, who appear to have all the right stuff, try but stumble and fail along the way.
This mystery intrigued me more and more as the years of my life passed and my career ascended to totally unexpected heights. If life is an adventure, as many observers have written over the years, I have had one heck of a ride – county newspaper editor at age twenty-one, press secretary for the Democratic nominee for governor of Tennessee at twenty-nine, chancellor of a university at thirty-five, editor of a major metropolitan daily newspaper at forty, state commissioner of education at forty-seven, chancellor of the nation’s seventh largest system of higher education at fifty-four, candidate for governor at sixty-two, and chief executive of a major federal agency at sixty-three.
Why me? How did a shy, introverted, small-town kid with average intelligence and no “silver spoon” make it to the top in three different professions?
Living life as an adventure is not for everyone. In fact, history has shown that the vast majority of people are perfectly content to take the safe pathway and go from birth to death without ever experiencing the joy of victory or the agony of defeat. Early in my career, I was among that majority, and I honestly believe that had circumstances, opportunity, and preparation not converged in my life, I could have found happiness and contentment on the safe route. That circumstance, however, was not to happen in my case.
Obviously, luck and fate play major roles in the successes and failures of human beings. But I am convinced that the end game is matching preparation with opportunity. Over the years, I have seen many people who had opportunity but were not prepared and, of course, many others who were prepared but never got the opportunity. The former have no one but themselves to blame, and the latter are simply the unlucky ones.
I truly believe life is an adventure and should be experienced to the fullest. And the reason I write this blog is to inspire others to shape their lives in ways that will make their adventure exciting and fulfilling.
-adapted from Journal of a Fast Track Life © 2018 Charles E. Smith. All rights reserved. Top photo courtesy of Pexels.com