True Good Fortune is What You Make for Yourself

“Good fortune: good character, good intentions, and good actions.” -Marcus Aurelius

We spend a lot of time, to quote Jack Johnson, “sitting, waiting, wishing.”

We wait for our big break, we wait for our golden ticket, we wait for our our chance to finally hit the jackpot.

But true good fortune is what you make yourself.

The “good fortune” given to you by someone else — a job, an annual raise, an upgraded airline ticket — isn’t really that meaningful. Because just as it was given to you, it can be taken away.

True good fortune can’t be taken away. It is the fortune you make and create for yourself. It is lasting and built on a solid foundation. It isn’t a “skyscraper built on sand dunes,” but a lasting reflection of the hard work, dedication, and preemptive owning of your own destiny.

Two Millionaires

Consider this. Imagine 2 people, each with $1 million dollars— one was simply given the million dollars, while the other actually earned it over time. Now, take away the million.

What are the perspectives of each individual?

The first individual would probably feel cheated and resentful. “I can’t believe my bad fortune!” they might lament with clenched teeth and balled fists.

But the second individual knows this isn’t “bad fortune” at all — it’s simply the reality of how fortune and opportunities work.

The second individual isn’t worried about their loss — if they did it once, they can do it again.

Swimming vs. Floating

Knowing how to make a million dollars is infinitely more priceless than simply owning a million dollars.

What the first individual doesn’t understand is that both circumstances — being given a million dollars and the money being taken away — are both out of their control, and therefore not true good fortune at all.

The second individual knows the million dollars for what it actually is — an arbitrary reflection of the intense work and years of learning they’ve completed.

The loss of the money doesn’t phase them, because what truly matters — their learning, ability, and drive to succeed — can’t ever be touched.

True good fortune is made by you.

Most of society falls into the first individual’s story. They’re kind of like a person floating in a river, going every which way. They have no control over their journey or trajectory — they simply go where the current takes them.

Sure, they might experience some calm, peaceful waters. But that wouldn’t be any of their doing, even if they think it is.

Then there is you — the second individual. The one who swims through the river. If you escape rushing rapids and reach calm, soothing waters, it was because you made it happen. Even if you get swept away by the river into choppy waters, you can always swim back to where you want to go.

That is true good fortune — the one you make for yourself.

Good Character

True good fortune stems from good character.

What is good character? It is being a person of integrity and love for others, doing positive, altruistic, and selfless actions that promote your neighbor.

Good character has an unpopular, “weak” perception nowadays. Take what you can get and don’t let go! Nice guys finish last.

But that’s simply not true.

Some of the most influential and successful individuals — the ones who have made their own good fortune — are invariably altruistic and philanthropic.

Folks like Bill Gates has donated countless billions of dollars to those in need, and convinced other happy-to-help billionaires like Richard Branson to do the same.

However, this state of being cannot be achieved until you shed off the limiting desires holding everyone else down:

The need to be praised.

The drive for selfish recognition.

The pursuit to please other people, not yourself.

What’s left? To do (and to not do) what we were designed to do.

That is true good character.

Good Intentions

You can never achieve good intentions if you continue to prize negative thought patterns — greed, selfishness, price, scarcity mentality. You’ll never be free, because you’ll always be envious and jealous, afraid everything will be taken away from you.

Any good intention within this type of system will be choked out and dominated by the primary foundations: the need for more, for selfish gain, for recognition and admiration from others. Bad intentions will trump good ones.

But if you begin to prize your own mind, to prize yourself and the work you do, and prize helping others over helping yourself — you’ll be able to start actually practicing good intentions.

Humanity’s natural state is to help other people. We are stronger together, and to go against these impulses not only neglects and hurts others, you hurt yourself.

Good Actions

“Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter. Cold or warm. Tired or well-rested. Despised or honored. Dying . . . or busy with other assignments.” -Marcus Aurelius

Not being you will destroy you.

True good fortune is always predicated with good actions. Actions from an honest, sincere, and authentic drive to help people and do good.

Fortunately, these actions become more and more natural the more you progress on your journey of personal development.

True north is always in the direction of helping people and doing good works. The more you become yourself, the more these opportunities will present themselves and become the natural option instead of the one you have to discern.

In Conclusion

True good fortune isn’t given to you — you make it yourself. It doesn’t matter what highs and lows or wins and losses you might experience, they’re all relative to your ability to make good fortune on your own.

This is high level thinking. Most individuals will not comprehend this principle, and go on floating through life, imagining their good fortune was their own doing.

You create true good fortune. The way to do this is to develop a good character of integrity, practice good intentions centered around genuinely helping others, and commit to performing good actions that honor those around you no matter how you might feel.


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This short checklist covers how I got my dream job in less than 11 months.

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  1. Kevin Hoelscher says:

    Amen brother, yeah, I think like 88% of millionaires in America did not inherit their wealth. Take advantage of the eighth wonder of the world… compound interest.

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