This was supposed to have another name.
At one point in my life I wanted to be a stock broker more than anything else in life.
I have vivid recollections of being 7 years old, sitting in my first grade class with that day’s Boston Globe reading the Business Section. I’d turn to the page with the stock prices and nod as if I really knew the the hell all of it meant.
I’m not really sure why I thought that was remotely cool.
Perhaps it was a desperate ploy to get my classmates to think “Oh man, how cool is that kid reading that paper and crossing his legs like a grownup. I want to be his friend”. On the other hand, maybe I was really trying to convince myself that this was really the life that I wanted. The Michael Douglasesque perfectly tailored, $5,000 double vent suits. The spit shined shoes and perfectly coiffed hair.
My dream of being a Wall Street shark led me to intern at one of the most respected financial institutions in the world in BNY Mellon from my junior year of high school, all the way to my sophomore year of college. While at BNY I met the man who I was convinced I wanted to be. George Gilmer at the time was a rising star as VP Controller and was making $$$ . A former D3 college basketball star, he struck an imposing figure as a 6'4 black dude in finance. Needless to say, when George spoke, everyone listened especially the 15 year old version of me. Serving as my Yoda, I will never forget these words from George after one day haphazardly throwing around the word “lucky”.
There’s no such thing as luck. What people commonly confuse for “luck” is anything but. “Luck” is really the intersection of preparation and opportunity.
It’s something that has stuck with me till this day. Originally I was writing this piece to be entitled “Creative Blues” because I was feeling the emo blues that creative types constantly go through, but for some reason my memory of George and his advice started to type itself. Go figure.
It’s a simple thought, but it is quite empowering if you really think about it. George probably didn’t realize this but his philosophy matched the Einstein theory: “Nothing happens until something moves”. I write this for myself, but also for any creative person who is feeling stagnant or un-inspired…just know that it’s normal, but you have to work through it. The more you work, the more you move, the more you prepare the “luckier” you’ll get. Just don’t tell George that I used the l-word.