Monday, 8 November 2010

Luck is Like the Tour de France

“Luck is like the Tour de France. You wait, and it flashes by you. You have to catch it while you can.”

Monsieur Dufayel in Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain

The Tour de France is a grand spectacle – the famous annual cycling race held in France, covers thousands of kilometers and lasts several weeks.

As a spectator, you wait and wait with great expectation and suddenly the pack of riders steams past in blaze of colour, whirling pedals and perspiration. If you get distracted at the wrong moment you miss it. All that's left of your moment of excitement is a few stragglers at the back of the pack.

Luck is a lot like that. I can think of too many lucky breaks that appeared on the horizon and just a moment’s hesitation was enough to see them already speeding off into the distance. You have to catch it while you can!

It seems most of us get our measure of luck but we need to seize it when it appears. When we see that first glimpse of colour through the bend in the road, we need to take hold of it with both hands.

The thing with luck is that to catch it we often need to move outside our comfort zone. Suddenly those comforting excuses are wiped away and there is the golden opportunity, laid bare and glistening in the sun. That can be exciting and scary at the same time. It’s easy to freeze, like a rabbit caught in the headlights. So here are a few tips for grabbing the best view of the Tour de France.

1) Be somewhere on the route
Most people don’t actually get to see the Tour de France, it whizzes past their lives many hundreds or thousands of miles away. We need to be somewhere on the route to see it.

Once we become aware of our deeply held values, our passions, our direction, we can make sure we’re on the right route and we can catch that luck when it passes. We can put ourselves in the places, the situations, with the type of people who bring us that luck. When we’re living from our passions we instinctively know the route, the key is getting in touch with that depth within ourselves.

2) Get a good view of the road
This always takes a bit of effort, especially if it’s a popular route, but without a clear view we will miss the whole spectacle. We may need to get there extra early and wait, or we may need to wind our way through to the front of the crowd.

This is like the preparatory work we must put in so we can take advantage of that golden opportunity when it comes. We may need to learn some new skill, overcome some challenge. Whatever it is, if we start putting in the preparation now we’ll be ready and waiting when the Tour first appears through that bend in the road.

3) Pay attention
This may be the most important point of all. We don’t want to find ourselves checking our facebook updates or on the loo when the Tour flashes past. We need to have our attention out there looking for opportunities.

There are so many distractions in modern life it’s easy to let something trivial rob us of our attention. We need to stay mindful, to remind ourselves daily of our passions and our direction. Then, when that opportunity appears on the horizon it will be impossible to miss Like a ringing bell we can’t ignore, it will grab our attention.

and finally...
Sometimes there are nasty collisions and injuries in the Tour de France when spectators run out in front of the cyclists. Whether they just want to get that perfect image or they just can’t bear to let the experience go I’m not sure.

Luck is not meant to be static, it is fluid. It flashes past in a blaze of colour and commotion. You can’t hold it up. Catch it while it’s there and remember it will also pass, that’s why it’s so valuable. 

Relish the spectacle, feel your heart pound with excitement, urge the riders on with all your strength. Then when it has passed, start preparing yourself for the next lap!


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