The teenage Jenny yells, “Run, Forrest, Run!” as the bad dudes throw rocks and start chasing Forrest in their old pickup truck.
With the truck bearing down on Forrest, the hooligans throw more rocks. Forrest veers off into a field, leaps over a five-foot fence and onto another road. The taunting boys yell and hoot and pound on the pursuing truck’s roof. Forrest makes a right turn to safety onto a football field where the high school team is practicing.
The legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant is in the stands watching the scrimmage. He wears his trademark plaid hat. A group of assistant coaches sit around him, as is the local high school football coach.
Just as the quarterback throws the ball into the air, Forrest runs past the quarterback. The receiver catches the ball. Forrest runs past the receiver while an opposing player tackles the amazed receiver.
Coach Bryant stands and asks, “Who in the hell is that?” The high school coach snidely replies, “That there is Forrest Gump, Coach. Just a local idiot.”
And of course, Forrest’s legendary football career was born.
Was it simply luck? Or did Forrest make his own luck?
Here are 4 reasons why getting on the field of life is necessary if you want to make your own luck:
1. You Won’t Win If You Don’t Play
I’m not talking the lottery. I’m talking about the metaphor of Forrest being discovered on the football field, and the need to get on the field of life. You’ve got to play to win.
Do spectators in the stands get spotted by the coach? No.
When Forrest ran onto the field, his speed and ability to run was recognized. He didn’t sit and talk about how fast he could run … he demonstrated it … on the field!
Are you on the field making your own luck, or are you sitting in the stands hoping for luck?
2. If At First You Don’t Succeed … Try, Try Again
When Forrest started shrimpin’ … what happened? He failed. His nets were empty with the exception of some trash. Day after day produced the same empty-netted result. But Forrest persevered and he eventually succeeded. Wildly!
Was it luck? .. was it hard work? The answers are “Yes” and “Yes.”
Staying on the field of life, or in Forrest’s case … on the shrimp boat at sea, is the difference between success and failure. Between being lucky and being unlucky.
Do you stay on the field until you get lucky? Or do you leave the field, considering yourself simply unlucky?
3. Sticks and Stones (and Speeding Trucks) Will Break Your Bones
But names will never hurt you.
Forrest didn’t let the name-calling and references to his low IQ stop him. Of course he didn’t like it, but he understood that name-calling wasn’t a battle worth engaging in.
On the other hand, he was wise enough to know physical danger and do something about that. What he did when being pursued by the truck was get the heck out of there. The passive, unlucky person might just have been run over.
Are you being lucky by avoiding danger, or are you unlucky and allowing danger to find you?
4. He Who Laughs Last, Laughs Best
This isn’t about laughing at others or their circumstances or misfortunes (i.e., schadenfreude). Rather, this is about doing what you want to do. Accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Succeeding because you’ve stuck with your plan and did the hard work … despite the laughs from others.
The person who laughs first often laughs at other’s misfortunes. He frequently laughs within the safety of a group. The first laugher credits luck for others’ fortunes. The first laugher blames luck (or bad luck) for his own misfortunes.
Are you laughing while others are doing the work? And then feeling resentful for their good luck?
Movies are one thing and life is another … I get it! Forrest certainly had his fair share of good fortune and luck. But …
- Forrest did the hard work.
- Forrest was on the field of life.
- Forrest persevered when things didn’t start out right.
- Forrest knew the difference between physical danger and name-calling.
- Forrest always seemed to have the last laugh.
And the irony of Forrest’s last laugh? It really wasn’t a laugh. Rather, it was more of a smile … a simple feeling of satisfaction from a job well done. Forrest didn’t harbor resentments.
Are you on the field of life? … or are you a spectator in the stands?
Are you making your own luck?
How lucky are you?
Next Blog Title: Why Some See Talent and Others See Only a ‘Local Idiot’
Next Blog Date: April 18, 2011