This week I have been reflecting on how some people seem to have it all, while others seem to have such bad luck. It made me think about how our perspective can influence which category we fall into. While some believe that you can make lemonade if life hands you lemons, others believe that they can only be happy if they get strawberries. I am not disputing that some people have an easier start in life, or more desirable background factors, such as beauty, wealth, intelligence, connections and charisma. I think that whatever our starting point or current situation is, we can choose to make something good out of it. This obviously means that the journey will be different for everyone, but we can all be happy and successful, if we are willing to work with what we have and stop comparing ourselves to others. Have you ever seen a model that you thought was not the most beautiful woman you have ever seen? I wonder how much harder she would have had to work to get the same jobs as the ‘naturally beautiful’ ones! If she let a few negative comments and tough times put her off, she would not be the top model we see today. As sure as we are all born different, people will react differently to who or what we are. It is worth thinking seriously about what you have to offer the world and going where it will be best appreciated. There are people who make successful careers out of physical features, mental strengths and talents that other people said was ‘weird’. The funny thing is that the same people who teased them in the past later want to associate with their success, when the ‘dwarf’ becomes a famous movie star, or the ‘geek’ becomes a millionaire! Thinking about everyday life brings many examples to mind. Some people think that other people have a better marriage, job, children, business or house than them. It is true that at every stage in life, some will be doing better than others in certain areas, but this does not mean that their lot is better than yours. Instead of thinking that by some sort of luck or chance distribution, they have ended up with the best babies, husbands, wives, employees, bosses, investments or houses, why don’t you try to find out how they make their relationships, business etc work, so that you can implement some good ideas and make yours successful too? You will be surprised to learn that the amazing relationship you admire takes more time and effort to maintain, than you imagined. Even if it is true that her husband is a ‘better man’, she must have been a certain kind of woman to have attracted such a good man – why don’t you improve yourself and see if you will not be treated like a queen too. Even if it is true that his wife is a ‘better woman’, why don’t you show more love to the one you married and see if she won’t become a better woman. Even if it is true that their little children were born with ‘perfect’ temperament and intelligence, why don’t you put in time and effort to train your own children and see if they will not do well too? No one sees the ‘behind the scenes’ work people put into maintaining a great image, home, career, business or job, so we like to believe that it is ‘alright for some’, as the British say. I have learned in life that people who do not work for what they have often cannot maintain it, so the fact that that admirable body, home, marriage, business or career is not just ‘here today and gone tomorrow’, tells me that someone has put in good foundations to keep it standing and is probably still working hard to keep it going. If you have an attitude of blaming ‘luck and chance’, you just might mess things up, even if someone gave you the exact same ingredients to work with! Do you think that a size 20 person could maintain a size 10 body if they miraculously got slimmer today? The same way a careless spender will be back in debt, soon after winning the lottery - that is how that weight will pile back on when healthy lifestyle habits have not been learned. Success for me is defined by me, and what I know and accept as best for my life and loved ones. I personally believe that success comes through hard work and by God’s grace, because He gives us life in the first place. When we learn to take responsibility for our own lives, take everyday choices more seriously, realise that ‘wishes are not horses’, and decide what we really want, rather than complaining about what we would like to have but can’t be bothered to work for, we will start to see positive change and realise that life can be good. It might take longer, it might mean hard work, but there is nothing that cannot be achieved with humility to learn, perseverance through change and a good appreciation of what is realistic and satisfying for us as individuals.