So about a year or two ago, someone asked me: If you could have dinner with a famous person, who would it be?
Naturally I start thinking about the most badass female scientists and leaders I can think of, I ended up listing one of them that was up there on my list.
A few months ago, I found out that person was speaking at a research center I happen to dabble in. Obviously I had to go.
Her lecture was brilliant and so, so interesting. I was talking to a colleague about how nervous I was to introduce myself to her and how much I’ve read her work over the years. They reply: Well, what are you doing tonight?
“Oh you know, just going to the gym and making dinner.”
Nope. You’re going out to dinner with a famous person.
Turns out, the scientist who was supposed to take her out to dinner was sick. They needed someone to entertain this brilliant woman after her lecture.
Needless to say, dinner FAR exceeded my expectations. This inspiring scientist was hilarious, approachable, and down right BRILLIANT.
That 4 hour dinner was like a concentrated lesson on life and everything in it. Politics, public health, science, medicine, nutrition, family, her career and future, my career and future…
Every word of of her mouth was totally spontaneous, yet was so full of intelligence, wisdom, and experience that it felt calculated and deliberate. She would say seemingly trivial things that resonated strongly as a straight-up write-this-down life lesson.
Anyway, the topic of goals and ambition came up, of course.
I was talking about how lucky I was to be able to have dinner with her and she quickly shot that down. It wasn’t luck that brought me to that dinner, it was choice.
In life, we make several — and when I say several, mean thousands upon thousands — of choices. Every day. We choose to stay up late and order a pizza. We choose to wake up early and go for a run. We choose to snooze. We choose to stay late after work. We have the opportunity to make a choice at almost any given moment in the day.
Those choices shape our futures. Those choices, one by one, present us with the opportunities we have. Yes, there are several other factors that contribute to opportunity (I would even argue that luck is one of them), however, choice is a significant one.
Achieving what we want out of life is our choice. Reaching your goals is your choice. Being successful at what you do is a choice. My writing a blog post on a Sunday night in the hopes to one day be an advocate for health is my choice. My waking up in the morning to work on Nourish in the hopes to one day be an influential leader in nutrition is my choice.
Years ago, I chose to stay up late in my dorm room reading about longevity and cancer. I chose to seek out research and scientists doing what I wanted to one day do. I chose to continue research. I chose to have the kinds of conversations in which we think about what kind of famous scientist we would have dinner with. I chose to speak up for myself at the research center I work at, so I would be trusted to converse with such a person. I chose to go to a science lecture for fun. I chose to introduce myself to an infamous role model. I chose to go to dinner.
That dinner didn’t happen out of luck, it happened out of choice.
Well, that’s what she said anyway.
TL;DR? Don’t make wish and hope for them to happen, CHOOSE what you want and CHASE after it like your life depends on it!